I didn't know to put this under economics or religion. I put it under religion, but I do think that they are onto something. It also says a lot about the value of women within any given heirarchy.
This is still happening today. It is not a 'historical' problem, it is a contemporary problem. I read Witchvox news frequently, and there is always some poor old woman or even children getting killed for withcraft. It is sad. India has a real problem with it.
"Emily Oster, an economist at the University of Chicago, has tried to gather systematic data on the link between witch trials and the weather. The results look striking: between 1520 and 1770, colder decades go hand-in-hand with more trials. The link may be simply that witches were often blamed for bad weather. Or there may be a less direct link: people tend to lash out in tough times. There is some evidence, for instance, that lynching was more common in the American south when land prices and cotton prices were depressed.
Such deaths are, sadly, not a historical footnote."