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

  • Denis Cogneau

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Alexander Moradi

    (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)

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 Department of Economics, University of Sussex in its series Working Paper Series with number 2911.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:sus:susewp:2911
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  1. 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.
  2. 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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  9. 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.
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  12. Nunn, Nathan, 2010. "Religious Conversion in Colonial Africa," Scholarly Articles 11986328, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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