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


  • Cogneau, Denis

    () (Paris School of Economics)

  • Moradi, Alexander

    () (Economics department, University of Sussex)


The partition of German Togoland after WWI provides a natural experiment allowing to test what impact colonial policies really had. Using a data set of recruits to the Ghana colonial army 1908-1955, we find literacy and religious beliefs to diverge at the border 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 divergence is only visible in the South where educational and evangelization efforts were strong enough. Using contemporary survey data we find that border effects originated at colonial times still persist today.

Suggested Citation

  • Cogneau, Denis & Moradi, Alexander, 2013. "Borders that Divide: Education and Religion in Ghana and Togo since Colonial Times," African Economic History Working Paper 4/2012, African Economic History Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:afekhi:2012_004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ewout H.P. Frankema, 2012. "The origins of formal education in sub-Saharan Africa: was British rule more benign?," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 335-355, November.
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    7. 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.
    8. Denis Cogneau, 2003. "Colonisation, School and Development in Africa. An empirical analysis," Working Papers DT/2003/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    9. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    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. Nathan Nunn, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 147-152, May.
    12. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Baten, Jörg & Cappelli, Gabriele, 2016. "The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730 -1970: A Colonial Legacy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    3. 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.
    4. Wahl, Fabian, 2015. "The long shadow of history: Roman legacy and economic development - evidence from the German limes," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 08-2015, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    5. Martin Gustafsson & Stephen Taylor, 2013. "Treating schools to a new administration. The impact of South Africa’s 2005 provincial boundary changes on school performance," Working Papers 28/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    7. Cappelli, Gabriele & Baten, Joerg, 2017. "European Trade, Colonialism, and Human Capital Accumulation in Senegal, Gambia and Western Mali, 1770–1900," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(03), pages 920-951, September.
    8. Sekeris Petros G., 2015. "State Power, State Capacity, and Development," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(4), pages 553-560, December.
    9. Oasis Kodila-Tedika & Simplice A. Asongu & Julio Mukendi Kayembe, 2016. "Middle Class in Africa: Determinants and Consequences," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 527-549, October.
    10. repec:kap:jecgro:v:22:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9144-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Horst Feldmann, 2016. "The Long Shadows of Spanish and French Colonial Education," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 32-64, February.
    12. Pfeifer, Gregor & Wahl, Fabian & Marczak, Martyna, 2016. "Illuminating the world cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 16-2016, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    13. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix P. & van Leeuwen, Marco H.D. & Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2015. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Ugandan Marriage Registers 1895-2011," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 239, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    14. Wuepper, David & Sauer, Johannes, 2016. "Explaining the performance of contract farming in Ghana: The role of self-efficacy and social capital," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 11-27.
    15. Martin Gustafsson & Stephen Taylor, 2016. "Treating schools to a new administration: Evidence from South Africa of the impact of better practices in the system-level administration of schools," Working Papers 05/2016, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    16. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-15-00420 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Dupraz, Yannick, 2017. "French and British Colonial Legacies in Education: Evidence from the Partition of Cameroon," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 333, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    18. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix & van Leeuwen, Marco & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Anglican Marriage Registers in Uganda, 1895-2011," CEPR Discussion Papers 11767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Joseph Keneck Massil, 2016. "Institutions, théories du changement institutionnel et déterminant de la qualité des institutions: les enseignements de la littérature économique," EconomiX Working Papers 2016-4, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    20. Federico Tadei, 2014. "Extractive Institutions and Gains From Trade: Evidence from Colonial Africa," Working Papers 536, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item


    Africa; German Togoland; colonial policies; missionary schools;

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania


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