Seminars: Religion & Political Economy

 Religion & Political Economy
Term:  Fall 2019-2020
Location: Littauer Center, M-15
Meeting Time: Wednesday 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM
Description: Current research on religion and political economy will be presented by outside speakers and Harvard faculty and students.
Instructors: Robert Barro, Rachel McCleary and Nathan Nunn


Date Presenter University Title
September 18 Benjamin Arold ifo Institute (visiting Harvard)

"Evolution vs. Creationism in the Classroom: Long-term effects of non-scientific school curricula"

Abstract: Scientific consensus is not always shared by the public. One prominent example of the divide between scientists and the public is the topic of evolution in the US. This paper estimates the effect of non-scientific school curricula as one key explanatory variable for the lack of public support for evolution. To test this, reforms limiting or extending the coverage of evolution in US high school curricula are exploited in a generalized difference-in-difference setting. Using individual level data from the General Social Survey, we find that students who are exposed to more scientific high school curricula during high school report higher rates of approval to the concept of evolution in adulthood. The effects are sizeable; we find that more than one third of the approval gap between scientists and the public can be attributed non-scientific school curricula.

September 25 Sriya Iyer University of Cambridge "Economic Shocks and Temple Desecrations in Medieval India” (with Anand Shrivastava and Rohit Ticku)
October 2 Jean-Paul Carvalho University of California, Irvine

"Radicalization" (with Michael Sacks) updated 10/16/19

October 9 Ludger Woessmann University of Munich Can Schools Change Religious Attitudes? Evidence from German State Reforms of Compulsory Religious Education” (with Benjamin Arold and Larissa Zierow)
October 16 No seminar this week
October 23 Ahmed Skali Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

"Protestantism and Effort Expenditure on the Battlefield: Soldier-Level Evidence from World War II" (with Tony Beatton and Benno Torgler)

October 30 Samuel Bazzi Boston University "The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia" (with Benjamin Marx and Gabriel Koehler-Derrick)
November 6 Steve Pfaff University of Washington

Church Politics, Sectarianism, and Judicial Terror: The Scottish Witch-Hunt, 1563 – 1736” (with Parashar Kulkarni)

November 13 Jean-Philippe Platteau University of Namur, Belgium

"The Quran and the Sword: The Strategic Game Between Autocratic Power, the Military, and the Clerics" (with Emmanuelle Auriol and Thierry Verdier) PDF updated 11/7/19

November 20

Joint with the Seminar in Economic History

Felipe Valencia Caicedo University of British Columbia

“Trust Unraveled: The Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War" (with Ana Tur Prats)