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Religion and Innovation

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  • Bénabou, Roland
  • Ticchi, Davide
  • Vindigni, Andrea

Abstract

In earlier work (Bénabou, Ticchi and Vindigni 2013) we uncovered a robust negative association between religiosity and patents per capita, holding across countries as well as US states, with and without controls. In this paper we turn to the individual level, examining the relationship between religiosity and a broad set of pro- or anti-innovation attitudes in all five waves of the World Values Survey (1980 to 2005). We thus relate eleven indicators of individual openness to innovation, broadly defined (e.g., attitudes toward science and technology, new versus old ideas, change, risk taking, personal agency, imagination and independence in children) to five different measures of religiosity, including beliefs and attendance. We control for all standard socio-demographics as well as country, year and denomination fixed effects. Across the fifty-two estimated specifications, greater religiosity is almost uniformly and very significantly associated to less favorable views of innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bénabou, Roland & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2015. "Religion and Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 10518, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10518
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. Bénabou, Roland & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2015. "Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 10548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    attitudes; beliefs; creativity; culture; dogma; growth; ideas; innovation; religion; risk-taking; science; technical progress; tolerance; values;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O35 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Social Innovation
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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