Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
105 St. George St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3E6 CANADA
Institutional Affiliation: University of Toronto
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2019||Does Scientific Progress Affect Culture? A Digital Text Analysis|
with Michela Giorcelli, Nicola Lacetera: w25429
We study the interplay between scientific progress and culture through text analysis on a corpus of about eight million books, with the use of techniques and algorithms from machine learning. We focus on a specific scientific breakthrough, the theory of evolution through natural selection by Charles Darwin, and examine the diffusion of certain key concepts that characterized this theory in the broader cultural discourse and social 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 most of...