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On the human capital of Inca Indios before and after the Spanish conquest: Was there a "pre-colonial legacy"?

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  • Juif, Dácil-Tania
  • Baten, Joerg

Abstract

Not only the colonial period, but also the pre-colonial times might have influenced later development patterns. In this study we assess a potential pre-colonial legacy hypothesis for the case of the Andean region. In order to analyze the hypothesis, we study the human capital of Inca Indios, using age-heaping-based techniques to estimate basic numeracy skills. We find that Peruvian Inca Indios had only around half the numeracy level of the Spanish invaders. The hypothesis holds even after adjusting for a number of potential biases. Moreover, the finding has also crucial implications for the narrative of the military crisis of the Inca Empire. A number of explanations have been given as to why the Old American Empires were not able to defend their territory against the Spanish invaders in the early 16th century. We add an economic hypothesis to the debate and test it with new evidence: Were the human capital formation efforts of the Inca economy perhaps too limited, making it difficult to react appropriately to the Spanish challenge?

Suggested Citation

  • Juif, Dácil-Tania & Baten, Joerg, 2012. "On the human capital of Inca Indios before and after the Spanish conquest: Was there a "pre-colonial legacy"?," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 27, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuewef:27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Baten, Joerg & Mumme, Christina, 2010. "Globalization and educational inequality during the 18th to 20th centuries: Latin America in global comparison," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 279-305, September.
    7. Baten, Joerg & Ma, Debin & Morgan, Stephen & Wang, Qing, 2010. "Evolution of living standards and human capital in China in the 18-20th centuries: Evidences from real wages, age-heaping, and anthropometrics," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 347-359, July.
    8. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The effect of Protestantism on education before the industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 224-228, May.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Baten, Jörg & Cappelli, Gabriele, 2016. "The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730 -1970: A Colonial Legacy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:bla:ehsrev:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:187-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Blum, Matthias & Krauss, Karl-Peter, 2017. "Age heaping and numeracy: Looking behind the curtain," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-05, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    4. Matthias Blum & Christopher L. Colvin & Laura McAtackney & Eoin McLaughlin, 2017. "Women of an uncertain age: quantifying human capital accumulation in rural Ireland in the nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 70(1), pages 187-223, February.
    5. Stolz, Yvonne & Baten, Jörg & Botelho, Tarcísio, 2011. "Growth effects of 19th century mass migrations: "Fome Zero" for Brazil," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 20, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    6. Ralph Hippe, 2014. "Human Capital in European Regions since the French Revolution," Working Papers 04-14, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; age-heaping; Inca empire; inequality; growth;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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