Knowledge Diffusion and Intellectual Change: When Chinese Literati Met European Jesuits

54 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2019 Last revised: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Chicheng Ma

Chicheng Ma

The University of Hong Kong

Date Written: January 24, 2019

Abstract

From 1580, the Jesuits introduced European sciences to China―an autarkic civilization whose intelligentsia was dominated by Confucian literati. Drawing upon prefectural distributions of the Jesuits and of Chinese scientific works between 1501 and 1780, this paper demonstrates that the Jesuits stimulated Confucian literati to study science. On average, the literati’s scientific works increased four times in prefectures with Jesuit scientists after 1580. But this effect shrank after the Jesuits were expelled by the emperor of China in 1723. These findings indicate the importance of an environment open to knowledge flow for intellectual development in pre-industrial times.

Keywords: Knowledge diffusion; Jesuit mission; Science; Intellectual; Human capital; China; Europe

JEL Classification: N35, N75, O15, O33, Z12

Suggested Citation

Ma, Chicheng, Knowledge Diffusion and Intellectual Change: When Chinese Literati Met European Jesuits (January 24, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3480248 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3480248

Chicheng Ma (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK
China

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
98
Abstract Views
570
rank
330,720
PlumX Metrics