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Religiosity and long-run productivity growth

Dierk Herzer and Holger Strulik ()

No 284, Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers from University of Goettingen, Department of Economics

Abstract: In this paper, we show, using a panel of developed countries, that there is a long-run negative association between church attendance and total factor productivity (TFP) with predictive causality running from declining church attendance to increasing factor productivity. According to our preferred estimate, about 18% of the increase in TFP from 1950 to 1990 is caused by declining religiosity. In order to explain this phenomenon, we integrate into standard R&D-based growth theory a micro-foundation of individual cognitive style, which is either intuitive-believing or reflective-analytical. Under the assumption that R&D productivity is positively influenced by a reflectiveanalytical cognitive style, we find that secularization leads to an increasing labor share in R&D and gradually increasing productivity growth. We use these insights to reflect on trends in religiosity and R&D-based growth in the very long run, from Enlightenment to the present day.

Keywords: religiosity; church attendance; factor productivity; cognitive style; R&D-based growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N30 O11 C23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eff, nep-gro, nep-his, nep-ino and nep-soc
Date: 2016
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:cegedp:284

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