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Do chiefly systems discourage schooling?

Listed author(s):
  • Yoshito Takasaki

An indigenous chiefly system can shape a country's economic growth and inequality through institutional development in its colonial history. This paper addresses this thesis by using original household survey data in rural Fiji, which contain unique information about traditional chiefly status, and Fijian coups as a natural experiment. It demonstrates that chiefly labor networks in non-farm occupations that originated from the British colonial policy persistently affected Fijians' schooling. Chiefly networks were effective for employment among male Fijians before and after 1970 independence, until the first coup occurred in 1987; then, their schooling strongly adjusted to structural changes in labor market. Those outside the chiefly network ? the majority of Fijians ? have always been discouraged from making education investments, because of low returns in the network-driven labor market. Without being directly constrained by this chiefly institution, Indians and Female Fijians outperformed male Fijians in higher education. Keywords: Chiefly system; Colonial policy; Labor network; Schooling; Fiji.

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Paper provided by Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba in its series Tsukuba Economics Working Papers with number 2011-003.

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Date of creation: May 2011
Handle: RePEc:tsu:tewpjp:2011-003
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