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Published March 28, 2016 | Accepted Version
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Pious Bequests in Wills: A Statistical Analysis


This paper employs maximum likelihood methods to analyze the increase in pious bequests in early modern French wills. Other historians have described the rise of pious bequests in wills, but no one has used multivariate statistical methods to explain the phenomenon. It turns out that at any level of wealth pious bequests rose over the course of the seventeenth century and that the bequests were most pronounced among the literate and women. The paper argues that the increase in pious bequests was mark of growing support for the Counter Reformation, which attracted an inordinate number of supporters in educated circles and in the female population.

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June 1981.

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Accepted Version - sswp393.pdf


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March 5, 2024