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The Impact of the Slave Trade on Literacy in Africa: Evidence from the Colonial Era

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  • Nonso Obikili

Abstract

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of Africa's history of slave exporting to its current economic development. In this paper I show that differences in investment in education may be one of the channels through which that history has affected current development. I combine data on literacy rates of administrative districts from the colonial censuses of Nigeria and Ghana from the 1950's with data on slave exports of different ethnic groups. I find a negative and signi cant relationship between slave export intensity before the colonial era and literacy rates during the colonial era. I also use contemporary data on literacy rates from the 2010 Nigerian Literacy Survey and find that this negative relationship is still present and significant. Thus, I show that the slave trades affected development through channels other than inter-ethnic group confliict or formal nation-state level institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 378.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:378

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Keywords: Africa; Slave trades; Human Capital; Development;

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