Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Religious freedom

Papers that report on tests of economic growth hypotheses across large international cross-sections keep cropping up. Ilan Alon and Gregory Chase have just published "Religious Freedom and Economic Prosperity" in the Spring/Summer Cato Journal.

There are many types of freedom and the power of economic freedom to generate prosperity has, not surprisingly, been well documented. What does religious freedom add? The authors test a religious freedom index in four models, where it competes with other freedoms to predict variations in prosperity (PPP per capita GDP). "All of the models using religious freedom as an explanatory variable had the predicted sign in the coefficient, and three of the four using the religious freedom variable exhibited significant results." (p. 405).

It seems that those who are eager to deny religious freedom already know the score.