NBER

Astrid Marinoni

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
105 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3E6 CANADA

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Toronto

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2019Does Scientific Progress Affect Culture? A Digital Text Analysis
with Michela Giorcelli, Nicola Lacetera: w25429
We focus on a unique episode in the history of science, the elaboration of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin, to study the interplay between scientific progress and cultural change. We perform text analysis on a corpus of hundreds of thousands of books, with the use of techniques from machine learning. We examine, in particular, the diffusion of certain key ideas of the theory of evolution in the broader cultural discourse and imaginary. We find that some concepts in Darwin’s theory, such as Evolution, Survival, Natural Selection and Competition, diffused in the cultural discourse immediately after the publication of On the Origins of Species. Other concepts such as Selection and Adaptation were already present in the cultural dialogue. Moreover, we document semantic changes for mo...

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