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Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times

  • Denis Cogneau
  • Alexander Moradi

When European powers partitioned Africa, individuals of otherwise homogeneous communities were divided and found themselves randomly assigned to one coloniser. This provides for a natural experiment: applying a border discontinuity analysis to Ghana and Togo, we test what impact coloniser’s policies really made. Using a new data set of men recruited to the Ghana colonial army 1908-1955, we find literacy and religious beliefs to diverge between British and French mandated part of Togoland as early as in the 1920s. We attribute this to the different policies towards missionary schools. The British administration pursued a ”grant-in-aid” policy of missionary schools, whereas the French restricted missionary activities. The divergence is only visible in the Southern part. In the North, as well as at the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso (former French Upper Volta), educational and evangelization efforts were weak on both sides and hence, did not produce any marked differences. Using contemporary survey data we find that border effects originated at colonial times still persist today.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2011-21.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2011-21
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  1. Nunn, Nathan, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," Scholarly Articles 11986328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  8. Denis Cogneau & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Gilles Spielvogel, 2010. "Development at the border: a study of national integration in post-colonial West Africa," Working Papers DT/2010/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
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  12. Cogneau, Denis, 2003. "Colonisation, School and Development in Africa. An empirical analysis," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4563, Paris Dauphine University.
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  16. Alexander Moradi, 2008. "Confronting colonial legacies-lessons from human development in Ghana and Kenya, 1880-2000," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 1107-1121.
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