Can religions explain cross country differences in innovative activities?

Jimin Wang, Cong Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Motivated by both the theory on socio-cultural drivers of technological innovation (Coccia 2014b), the hindering and facilitating theories on religion and innovation (Liu et al., 2018), and the Schwartz's value theory (Schwartz, 2006), this paper aims to provide empirical evidence between the two variables. In particular, we explore the impact of major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) on innovative activities globally. Using data for 113 countries (core sample) from 1996 to 20102 with treatments for endogeneity, we find significant direct effects of religious affiliations on innovative activities. In particular, Christianity and Judaism reduce innovation, while in general, Buddhism and Irreligion increase innovation. The effect of Islam on innovation is largely insignificant. The effects of denominations of Christianity, Judaism are also largely negative, except for Catholics and Orthodox Judaism. The results also indicate that the direction of impact stays relatively unchanged across countries with different levels of democracy, income and religion regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102285
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Religion
  • Innovation
  • Financial development
  • Trade openness
  • Human capital


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