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

  • Moradi, Alexander
  • Cogneau, Denis

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 Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/12675.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Publication status: Published in CSAE Working Paper, 2011
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/12675
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  1. Jutta Bolt & Dirk Bezemer, 2009. "Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 24-54.
  2. Nathan Nunn, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 147-52, May.
  3. Denis Cogneau & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Gilles Spielvogel, 2010. "Development at the border : a study of national integration in post-colonial West Africa," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00966312, HAL.
  4. Francisco Gallego & Robert Woodberry, 2009. "Christian Missionaries and Education in Former African Colonies: How Competition Mattered," Working Papers ClioLab 2, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
  5. Richard H. Steckel, 2008. "Biological Measures of the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 129-152, Winter.
  6. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0756, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Bertocchi, Graziella & Canova, Fabio, 1996. "Did Colonization Matter for Growth? An Empirical Exploration into the Historical Causes of Africa's Underdevelopment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  9. Alexander Moradi, 2008. "Towards an Objective Account of Nutrition and Health in Colonial Kenya: A Study of Stature in African Army Recruits and Civilians, 1880-1980," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  11. Gareth Austin, 2008. "The 'reversal of fortune' thesis and the compression of history: Perspectives from African and comparative economic history," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(8), pages 996-1027.
  12. World Bank, 2011. "World Development Indicators 2011," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2315, September.
  13. Denis Cogneau, 2003. "Colonisation, School and Development in Africa. An empirical analysis," Working Papers DT/2003/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  14. 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.
  15. Ewout Frankema, 2011. "The Origins of Formal Education in sub-Saharan Africa - Was British Rule More Benign?," Working Papers 0005, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  16. Grier, Robin M, 1999. " Colonial Legacies and Economic Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 317-35, March.
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