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Reading, writing, and religion: Institutions and human capital formation

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  • Chaudhary, Latika
  • Rubin, Jared

Abstract

In this paper, we empirically test the role that religious and political institutions play in the accumulation of human capital. Using a new data set on literacy in colonial India, we find that Muslim literacy is negatively correlated with the proportion of Muslims in the district, although we find no similar result for Hindu literacy. We employ a theoretical model which suggests that districts which experienced a more recent collapse of Muslim political authority had more powerful and better funded religious authorities, who established religious schools which were less effective at promoting literacy on the margin than state schools. We test this hypothesis econometrically, finding that the period of Muslim political collapse has a statistically significant effect on Muslim literacy while controlling for it eliminates the significance of the proportion of Muslims on Muslim literacy. This suggests that the "long hand of history" has played some role in subsequent differences in human capital formation through the persistence of institutions discouraging literacy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 17-33

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:39:y:2011:i:1:p:17-33

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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Keywords: Religion Education Institutions India;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jared Rubin, 2014. "Printing and Protestants: An Empirical Test of the Role of Printing in the Reformation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 270-286, May.
  2. Steven Nafziger & Latika Chaudhary & Aldo Musacchio & Se Yan, 2011. "Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2009. "Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Sriya Iyer & Chander Velu & Melvyn Weeks, 2014. "Divine Competition: Religious Organisations and Service Provision in India," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1409, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Latika Chaudhary & Jared Rubin, 2013. "Religious Identity and the Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the Indian Princely States," Working Papers 13-26, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  6. Saleh, Mohamed, 2013. "On the Road to Heaven: Self-Selection, Religion, and Socio-Economic Status," IAST Working Papers 13-04, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).

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