A Curse of ‘Point Source’ Resources? : Cash Crops and Numeracy on the Philippines 19th-20th Century
Does the shift from subsistence agriculture to a specialization in cash-crop production affect human capital? We assess the influence of the rapid expansion of the cultivation of cash crops for export in the mid and late 19th century Philippines, with a focus on the increase or decline of basic numeracy. Based on the historiography, we expect the expansion of cash crops (in 19th century Philippines, mostly abacá, sugar, and tobacco) to have a negative effect on human capital of the majority of the population during the first phase. To test this hypothesis, we mobilize a new and large data set based on age statements from parish records, which includes 228,853 underlying observations. This is the first long term quantitative study on numeracy in a Southeast Asian country. We aggregate the individual observations by 41 provinces and the birth decades from the 1800s to the 1930s in order to obtain a large and informative panel (panel observations based on less than 50 underlying age statements are dropped). This allows us to compare regional levels of numeracy before, during, and after the introduction of the three main cash crops.
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CESifo Working Paper Series
5432, CESifo Group Munich.
- Jean-Pascal Bassino & Marion Dovis & John Komlos, 2015. "Biological Well-Being in Late 19th Century Philippines," NBER Working Papers 21410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 783-808, September.
- Brian A'Hearn & Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2006. "Quantifying quantitative literacy: Age heaping and the history of human capital," Economics Working Papers 996, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Resnick, Stephen A., 1970. "The Decline of Rural Industry Under Export Expansion: A Comparison among Burma, Philippines, and Thailand, 1870–1938," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 51-73, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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