Finance Seminars, Michael Weber, University of Chicago, EUA.
For centuries, Jews have been associated with financial services. We find that present-day households in German counties where Jewish persecution was higher in the Middle Ages and the Nazi period invest less in stocks, have lower savings in bank deposits, and are less likely to get a mortgage, but not to own a house. Current antisemitism, generalized trust, or supply-side forces do not appear to explain these correlations, which are consistent with a norm of distrust in finance, transmitted across generations. The forced migrations of the Ashkenazi communities across the German lands after the 11th century help assess the extent to which the effect of Jewish persecution on present-day financial decisions is causal.