Creativity Over Time and Space

85 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2017 Last revised: 2 Mar 2020

See all articles by Michel Serafinelli

Michel Serafinelli

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

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Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity? In this paper we match data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century with historical data on city institutions and population. Our main outcome of interest is the number of famous creatives (scaled to local population) born in a city during a century, but we also look at famous immigrants (based on location of death). We first document several stylized facts: famous births and immigrants are spatially concentrated and clustered across disciplines, creative clusters are persistent but less than population, and spatial mobility has remained stable over the centuries. Next, we show that the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms and promoting local autonomy facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent.

Keywords: agglomeration, Gravity, Human Capital, Immigration, Innovation, Political Institutions

JEL Classification: J24, J61, O10, R10

Suggested Citation

Serafinelli, Michel and Tabellini, Guido, Creativity Over Time and Space (October 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12365, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3053893

Michel Serafinelli (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

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