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Things fall apart? Missions, institutions, and interpersonal trust

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  • Okoye, Dozie

Abstract

This paper studies the links between changes in traditional communities, due to historical Christian missionary activities, and differences in interpersonal trust between Africans today. We use various data on Christian missions to show that missions are associated with lower levels of trust within countries formerly under British indirect rule, but increased trust for all other countries. This result is robust to a variety of confounders and fixed ethnic characteristics. Using data on native prisons and prisoners in Nigeria, and Pew surveys in Africa, we demonstrate that the negative effects may be explained by weakened traditional institutions, norms, and beliefs, due to missionary activities under indirect rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Okoye, Dozie, 2021. "Things fall apart? Missions, institutions, and interpersonal trust," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:148:y:2021:i:c:s0304387820301437
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102568
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; Culture; Institutions; Missions; Colonization; Indirect Rule; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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