Stefano Gagliarducci, Marco Tabellini, 02 July 2022

How ethnic religious organisations influence immigrants’ assimilation in host societies has been surprisingly understudied. This column looks at the effect of Italian Catholic churches in the US between 1890 and 1920 when four million Italians moved to America and anti-Catholic sentiments were widespread. Italian churches reduced social assimilation of Italian immigrants, lowering intermarriage, residential integration, and naturalisation rates. However, the churches had ambiguous effects on immigrants’ economic outcomes and increased children’s literacy and ability to speak English.

Julia Cagé, Valeria Rueda, 17 March 2018

HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa is often shaped by the influence of Christian churches, tending to focus on abstinence rather than safer sexual behaviour. This column investigates the relationship between historical Christian missionary activities and HIV prevalence today. Regions close to missions in general tend to exhibit higher HIV prevalence, an effect that is driven by Protestant missions. Regions close to missions that specifically invested in health, however, exhibit lower HIV prevalence today.

Roland Bénabou, Davide Ticchi , Andrea Vindigni, 19 April 2015

History offers many examples of the recurring tensions between science and organized religion, but as part of the paper’s motivating evidence we also uncover a new fact: in both international and cross-state U.S. data, there is a significant and robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. Three long-term outcomes emerge. First, a "Secularization" or "Western-European" regime with declining religiosity, unimpeded science, a passive Church and high levels of taxes and transfers. Second, a "Theocratic" regime with knowledge stagnation, extreme religiosity with no modernization effort, and high public spending on religious public goods. In-between is a third, "American" regime that generally (not always) combines scientific progress and stable religiosity within a range where religious institutions engage in doctrinal adaptation.


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