偏见的另一代价 Another cost of bigotry
THE assertion that Jews “control” finance is commonplace among anti-Semites. A new academic study finds that people who live in areas of Germany where persecution of Jews was most intense are less likely to invest in the stockmarket, even today.
The relationship has very strong historical roots. People who live in districts from which Jews were likeliest to be sent to concentration camps under the Nazis are 7.5% less likely to invest in stocks than other Germans; those who live in districts where pogroms occurred during the Black Death (back in the 14th century) are 12% less likely to do so. Surveys also show residents of such districts are less likely to trust the financial sector.
The results hold up when compared with nearby districts, with those that are in the same states and with areas that were in the same occupation zones after the second world war. The authors used another test as a further control. Historically, German Jews settled in the Rhine valley. So German districts close to the valley were more likely to have pogroms, and people there are less likely to invest in stocks than those further away. But when they compared French districts that are close to the Rhine with more distant ones, there was no difference in stockmarket participation.
The authors find that this distrust of finance affects people of all education levels, even though the more educated are less likely to be anti-Semitic. They conclude that these areas have “a cultural norm of distrust in finance that has transmitted across generations independently from anti-Semitism”.
The effect of this distrust is that German savers in such districts earn lower returns, because they have lower exposure to the stockmarket. “The legacy of Jewish persecution—distrust of finance—has hindered generations of Germans from accumulating financial wealth,” the authors argue. In other words, “Persecution of minorities reduces not only the long-term wealth of the persecuted, but of the persecutors as well.”