DP3235 Culture, Politics and Innovation: Evidence from the Creameries

Author(s): Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke
Publication Date: February 2002
Keyword(s): agriculture, history, innovation
JEL(s): O31
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3235

This Paper explores the diffusion of two agricultural innovations in late 19th century Denmark and Ireland: the milk separator and the cooperative creamery. It asks whether variables identified as important for innovation and growth by cross-country regressions mattered in this instance: in particular, education, uncertain property rights, and social capital. The Paper finds that literacy and conflict regarding property rights impeded the diffusion of milk separators in Ireland, and that the propensity to cooperate there was lower among Catholics than among Protestants. These factors all help explain the superior performance of the Danish dairy industry during this period.