Tolerance and Economic Growth Revisited: A Note
14 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 24, 2012
Berggren and Elinder (BE) in this journal write on the relationship between the degree of tolerance in a nation and its rate of economic growth. They are disturbed to find in their cross sections that higher economic growth statistically goes together with low tolerance of homosexuals. In this comment, we revisit the issue and demonstrate that the concern expressed by BE is unwarranted if we properly account for “conditional convergence” in the regressions for economic growth. Other things being equal, a country grows faster if it starts from a poorer initial position. In the BE dataset, China since the Deng reforms is a prime example. At about the same time, another group of countries managed to accelerate their economic growth after a long period of stagnation: the ex-communist countries in central and Eastern Europe. Many of these nations also grew exceptionally fast for a number of years, once freedom had been regained and the initial chaos overcome. With simple modeling of these historical initial conditions, we find no statistical pattern that associates low tolerance for homosexuals with weaker economic growth. Our results are robust under alternative specifications.
Keywords: Tolerance, Growth, Homosexuals
JEL Classification: O40, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation