We study the co-evolution of religion, science, and politics. We first uncover, in international and U.S. data, a robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. The model then combines: (1) scientific discoveries that raise productivity but sometimes erode religious beliefs; (2) a government that allows innovations to diffuse, or blocks them; (3) religious institutions that can invest in doctrinal reform. Three long-term outcomes emerge. The “Western-European Secularization” regime has declining religiosity, unimpeded science, and high taxes and transfers. The “Theocratic” regime involves knowledge stagnation, unquestioned dogma, and high religious-public-goods spending. The “American” regime combines scientific progress and stable religiosity through doctrinal adaptations, with low taxes and some fiscal-legal advantages for religious activities. Rising income inequality can, however, empower a Religious-Right alliance that starts blocking belief-eroding ideas.

Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth

Andrea Vindigni
2021-01-01

Abstract

We study the co-evolution of religion, science, and politics. We first uncover, in international and U.S. data, a robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. The model then combines: (1) scientific discoveries that raise productivity but sometimes erode religious beliefs; (2) a government that allows innovations to diffuse, or blocks them; (3) religious institutions that can invest in doctrinal reform. Three long-term outcomes emerge. The “Western-European Secularization” regime has declining religiosity, unimpeded science, and high taxes and transfers. The “Theocratic” regime involves knowledge stagnation, unquestioned dogma, and high religious-public-goods spending. The “American” regime combines scientific progress and stable religiosity through doctrinal adaptations, with low taxes and some fiscal-legal advantages for religious activities. Rising income inequality can, however, empower a Religious-Right alliance that starts blocking belief-eroding ideas.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1067758
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