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The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Julia Cagé
  • Valeria Rueda

Abstract

This article investigates the long-term consequences of the printing press in the nineteenth century sub-Saharan Africa on social capital nowadays. Protestant missionaries were the first to import the printing press 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 printing-, educational-, and health-related investments undertaken by the mission. We show that, within regions close to missions, proximity to a printing press is associated with higher newspaper readership, trust, education, and political participation.

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  • Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda, 2016. "The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 69-99, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:69-99
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20140379
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N77 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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