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Religion and Human Capital in Ghana


  • Blunch, N.


This paper examines the religion-human capital link, examining a recent household survey for Ghana. Insights from the recent anthropological literature leads to a prediction of Islam being associated with lower human capital levels than Christianity, since Islam, perhaps surprisingly, may be clustered together with Traditional/Animist religion within the group of orally based religions for the case of Ghana. While previous studies typically have only considered the main religions, thereby not allowing for heterogeneous associations in the links at the sub-group level, and also have not allowed religious affiliation to be endogenously determined, these possibilities are explored here, as well. I find a strong association between individual religious affiliation and human capital as measured by years of schooling, with Christians as a group being more literate and having completed more years of schooling than Muslims and Animists / Traditionalists, thus confirming the predictions from the conceptual framework. At the same time, there is a great deal of heterogeneity in the strength of this relationship within different types of Christianity. The instrumental variables estimation strategy proves to be preferable to OLS, while at the same yielding higher associations in the religion-human capital relations ship. In turn, this indicates that previous studies, which have typically used OLS, may have systematically underestimated the strength of the religion-human capital link. Directions for future research are also presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Blunch, N., 2007. "Religion and Human Capital in Ghana," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0770, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0770

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2012. "Global financial crisis: dharmic transgressions and solutions," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(1), pages 55-80, January.

    More about this item


    Religion; human capital; literacy and numeracy; Ghana.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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