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Literacy at South African Mission Stations

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  • Johan Fourie
  • Robert Ross
  • Russel Viljoen

Abstract

Accurate measures of education quality — primarily, years of schooling or literacy rates — are widely used to ascertain the contribution of human capital formation on long-run economic growth and development. This paper, using a census of 4500 missionary station residents in 1849 South Africa, documents, for the first time, literacy and numeracy rates of non-White citizens in nineteenth-century South Africa. The census allows for an investigation into the causes of literacy at missionary stations. We find that age, residency, the missionary society operating the stations and numeracy, as a proxy for parental education, matter for literacy performance. The results provide new insights into the comparative performance of missionary societies in South Africa and contribute to the debate about the role of missionary societies in the economic development of colonial settings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 284.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:284

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  1. Francisco A. Gallego & Robert Woodberry, 2010. "Christian Missionaries and Education in Former African Colonies: How Competition Mattered," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(3), pages 294-329, June.
  2. Ewout H.P. Frankema, 2012. "The origins of formal education in sub-Saharan Africa: was British rule more benign?," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 335-355, November.
  3. Nathan Nunn, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 147-52, May.
  4. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2011. "Economic Development in the Americas since 1500: Endowments and Institutions," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number enge11-1, October.
  5. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 248, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  6. 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.
  7. Ewout Frankema, 2011. "The Origins of Formal Education in sub-Saharan Africa - Was British Rule More Benign?," Working Papers 0005, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  8. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2011. "Introduction to "Economic Development in the Americas since 1500: Endowments and Institutions"," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Development in the Americas since 1500: Endowments and Institutions, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Education persists
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-06-05 20:21:50
  2. Baboonomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-08-13 10:42:01
  3. Baboonomics
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-08-13 10:42:01

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