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