Historical Missionary Activity, Schooling, and the Reversal of Fortunes: Evidence from Nigeria
39 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 20, 2014
This paper shows that historical missionary activity has had a persistent effect on schooling outcomes, and contributed to a reversal of fortunes wherein historically richer ethnic groups are poorer today. Combining contemporary individual-level data with a newly constructed dataset on mission stations in Nigeria, we find that individuals whose ancestors were exposed to greater missionary activity have higher levels of schooling. This effect is robust to omitted heterogeneity, ethnicity fixed effects, and reverse causation. We find inter-generational factors and the persistence of early advantages in educational infrastructure to be key channels through which the effect has persisted. Consistent with theory, the effect of missions on current schooling is larger for population subgroups that have historically suffered disadvantages in access to education.
Keywords: Missions, Africa, Education, Reversal of Fortunes, Nigeria
JEL Classification: I20, N30, N37, N47, O15, Z12
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