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Renaissance regions that didn’t expel Jews reap the benefit today

New study published in MIT’s The Review of Economics and Statistics shows that Jews, which became moneylenders in the 16th century, established the first banks, leading to better economies today.

Over half a millennium may have passed, but regions that did not expel Jews during the Renaissance era have measurably better economies than those that did.

Throughout Europe, regions expelled Jewish communities from medieval times and into the Renaissance. In a new study published in MIT’s The Review of Economics and Statistics, Professor Luigi Pascali found that cities that permitted Jewish communities to thrive have GDPs of up to 10 percent higher than those that expelled them.

In the 16th century, the Catholic Church forbade its adherents from moneylending, and Jews established what became the first banks.


“I argue that cities, in which the local Jewish community in 1500 caused an early development of the banking sector, have more banks today and, because of this, are more developed today,” said Pascali—an economist at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, Pompeu Fabra University, and Warwick University—in an interview with the Daily Mail, which first reported the study.


“By the beginning of the 15th century, the geographic expansion of Jewish lending was complete


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