Religious Tolerance as Engine of Innovation

60 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by Francesco Cinnirella

Francesco Cinnirella

University of Bergamo; University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CAGE

Jochen Streb

University of Mannheim

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

We argue that, for a given level of scientific knowledge, tolerance and diversity are conducive to technological creativity and innovation. In particular, we show that variations in innovation within Prussia during the second industrial revolution can be ascribed to differences in religious tolerance that developed in continental Europe from the Peace of Westphalia onwards. By matching a unique historical dataset about religious tolerance in 1,278 Prussian cities with valuable patents for the period 1877-1890, we show that higher levels of religious tolerance are strongly positively associated with innovation during the second industrial revolution. Religious tolerance is measured through population's religious diversity, diversity of churches, and diversity of preachers and religious teachers, respectively. Endogeneity issues are addressed using local variation across cities, within counties. Estimates using preindustrial levels of religious tolerance address issues of reverse causality. As for the channels of transmission, we find significant complementarity between religious tolerance and human capital. Furthermore, we find that cities with higher levels of religious tolerance attracted a larger share of migrants. Finally, higher levels of religious diversity in the population translated into higher levels of religious diversity in the workforce by industrial sector. This result suggests that religious diversity did not generate labor market segmentation by denomination but might have fostered interaction of different denominations.

Keywords: diversity, Innovation, openness, Patenting Activity, Pluralism, Tolerance

JEL Classification: N13, N33, O14, O31, Z12

Suggested Citation

Cinnirella, Francesco and Streb, Jochen, Religious Tolerance as Engine of Innovation (November 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12466, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3082292

Francesco Cinnirella (Contact Author)

University of Bergamo ( email )

Via dei Caniana 2
Bergamo, 24129
Italy

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschingerstrasse 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

CAGE ( email )

Premier Business Centre
47-49 Park Royal Road
London, NW10 7LQ
United Kingdom

Jochen Streb

University of Mannheim ( email )

L7, 3-5
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

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