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Slave numeracy in the Cape Colony and comparative development in the eighteenth century

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  • Jörg Baten
  • Johan Fourie

Abstract

The lack of accurate measures of human capital formation often constrain investigations into the long-run determinants of growth and comparative economic development, especially in regions such as Africa. Using the reported age of criminals in the Courts of Justice records in the Cape Archive, this paper documents, for the first time, the levels of and trends in numeracy for inhabitants of the Cape Colony born between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Cape inhabitants included the native Khoe and San, European settlers, and imported slaves from other African regions and Asia. This hodgepodge of individuals allows a unique comparison between contemporaneous levels of 18th century development across three continents. By isolating those slaves born at the Cape, we also provide a glimpse into the dynamics of human capital transfer in colonial settings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 270.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:270

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Keywords: Education; Human Capital; South Africa; Whipple; Age-heaping; Africa; Asia;

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References

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  1. Johan Fourie & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2012. "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The national accounts of a slave-based society," Working Papers 0030, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  2. Jörg Baten & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2007. "Book production and the onset of modern economic growth," Economics Working Papers 1030, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, 02.
  4. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "The role of education quality for economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4122, The World Bank.
  5. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen & Joachim Voth, 2007. "Poor, hungry and ignorant: Numeracy and the impact of high food prices in industrializing Britain, 1780-1850," Economics Working Papers 1120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2011.
  6. John Komlos, . "Anomalies in Economic History: Reflections on the 'Antebellum Puzzle'," Articles by John Komlos 12, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
  7. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," NBER Working Papers 8186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Johan Fourie & Dieter von Fintel, 2011. "Settler Skills and Colonial Development," Working Papers 0009, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  9. Clingingsmith, David & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2008. "Deindustrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 209-234, July.
  10. Péter Földvári & Bas Van Leeuwen, 2006. "An Estimation of the Human Capital Stock in Eastern and Central Europe," Eastern European Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 43(6), pages 53-65, December.
  11. Baten, Joerg & Pelger, Ines & Twrdek, Linda, 2009. "The anthropometric history of Argentina, Brazil and Peru during the 19th and early 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 319-333, December.
  12. A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Baten, Joerg & Mumme, Christina, 2010. "Globalization and educational inequality during the 18th to 20th centuries: Latin America in global comparison," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 279-305, September.
  14. Paul M. Romer, 1989. "Human Capital And Growth: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dorothee Crayen & Joerg Baten, 2010. "New evidence and new methods to measure human capital inequality before and during the industrial revolution: France and the US in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 452-478, 05.
  16. Gareth Austin & Joerg Baten & Bas Van Leeuwen, 2012. "The biological standard of living in early nineteenth-century West Africa: new anthropometric evidence for northern Ghana and Burkina Faso," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(4), pages 1280-1302, November.
  17. Coulombe Serge & Tremblay Jean-François, 2006. "Literacy and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-34, August.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Slavenomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 18:36:30
  2. Slavenomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 18:36:30
  3. South Africa: A country of migrants
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-12-03 08:18:43

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