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Birth and Migration of Scientists: Does Religiosity Matter? Evidence from 19th-Century France

Author

Listed:
  • Giampaolo Lecce

    (Groningen University)

  • Laura Ogliari

    (University of Milan)

  • Mara P. Squicciarini

    (Bocconi University and CEPR)

Abstract

Can religiosity affect the emergence and migration patterns of scientists? We focus on 19th-century France, a period in which the Catholic Church had embraced a particularly antiscientific attitude, and we exploit variation in intensity of Catholicism. Using data on the places of birth and death of famous individuals from 1790 to 1880, we show that more religious cantons were less likely to give birth to scientists, but religiosity did not play a role for their migration choices. We shed light on the mechanism and suggest that accumulation of scientific human capital earlier in life was key: religious vs. secular secondary education can partly explain the negative relationship between religiosity and the “birth” of scientists. Finally, placebo regressions show that religiosity is not associated with the birth and migration patterns of famous individuals in nonscientific professions—nor is it associated with the emergence of scientific human capital in the pre-1790 period.

Suggested Citation

  • Giampaolo Lecce & Laura Ogliari & Mara P. Squicciarini, 2021. "Birth and Migration of Scientists: Does Religiosity Matter? Evidence from 19th-Century France," Development Working Papers 472, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:472
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religiosity; Scientific Development; Upper-Tail Human Capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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