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Slave numeracy in the Cape Colony and comparative development in the eighteenth century

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  • Jörg Baten
  • Johan Fourie

Abstract

The lack of accurate measures of human capital formation often constrain investigations into the long-run determinants of growth and comparative economic development, especially in regions such as Africa. Using the reported age of criminals in the Courts of Justice records in the Cape Archive, this paper documents, for the first time, the levels of and trends in numeracy for inhabitants of the Cape Colony born between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Cape inhabitants included the native Khoe and San, European settlers, and imported slaves from other African regions and Asia. This hodgepodge of individuals allows a unique comparison between contemporaneous levels of 18th century development across three continents. By isolating those slaves born at the Cape, we also provide a glimpse into the dynamics of human capital transfer in colonial settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jörg Baten & Johan Fourie, 2012. "Slave numeracy in the Cape Colony and comparative development in the eighteenth century," Working Papers 270, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:270
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Slavenomics
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 23:36:30
    2. Slavenomics
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-03-19 23:36:30
    3. South Africa: A country of migrants
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-12-03 14:18:43

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Human Capital; South Africa; Whipple; Age-heaping; Africa; Asia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

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