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Religion and Innovation

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  • Roland Bénabou
  • Davide Ticchi
  • Andrea Vindigni

Abstract

In earlier work we identified a robust negative association between religiosity and patents per capita, holding across countries as well as US states. In this paper we relate 11 indicators of individual openness to innovation (e.g., attitudes toward science and technology, new versus old ideas, change, risk taking, agency, imagination, and independence in children) to 5 measures of religiosity, including beliefs and attendance. We use five waves of the World Values Survey and control for sociodemographics, country and year fixed effects. Across the 52 regressions, greater religiosity is almost uniformly associated to less favorable views of innovation, with high significance.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Bénabou & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2015. "Religion and Innovation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 346-351, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:346-51
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151032
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    4. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2012. "Religious Beliefs, Religious Participation, and Cooperation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 121-151, August.
    5. Stephan Bartke & Reimund Schwarze, 2008. "Risk-Averse by Nation or by Religion?: Some Insights on the Determinants of Individual Risk Attitudes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 131, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    7. Roland Bénabou & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2015. "Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 21105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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