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The long Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub Saharan Africa

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  • Julia Cagé

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), Harvard University [Cambridge] - University of Harvard)

  • Valeria Rueda

    (IEP Paris - Sciences Po Paris - Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris - PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité - Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques [FNSP])

Abstract

This article delves into the relationship between newspaper readership and civic attitudes, and its e↵ect on economic development. To this end, we investigate the long-term consequences of the introduction of the printing press in the 19th century. In sub-Saharan Africa, Protestant missionaries were the first both to import the printing press technology and to allow the indigenous population to use it. We build a new geocoded dataset locating Protestant missions in 1903. This dataset includes, for each mission station, the geographic location and its characteristics, as well as the educational and health-related investments undertaken by the mission. We show that, within regions located close to missions, proximity to a printing press significantly increases newspaper readership today. We also document a strong association between proximity to a printing press and contemporary economic development. Our results are robust to a variety of identification strategies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00844446.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00844446

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Related research

Keywords: Historical persistence ; Printing press ; Protestant missions ; Newspaper readership ; Political participation ; Economic development;

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  1. Elise Huillery, 2009. "History Matters: The Long-Term Impact of Colonial Public Investments in French West Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 176-215, April.
  2. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," CESifo Working Paper Series 1987, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "Income and Democracy," NBER Working Papers 11205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Colonialism and Modern Income -- Islands as Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Denis Cogneau & Alexander Moradi, 2011. "Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times," Working Paper Series 2911, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  7. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Tatiana Nenova & Andrei Shleifer, . "Who Owns the Media?," Working Paper 19470, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  8. Cantoni, Davide, 2012. "Adopting a New Religion: The Case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20004, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Emily Oster, 2013. "Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Validation," NBER Working Papers 19054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  11. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  12. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2013. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," NBER Working Papers 17620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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