The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730-1970: A Colonial Legacy?

53 Pages Posted: 16 May 2016

See all articles by Jörg Baten

Jörg Baten

University of Tuebingen - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gabriele Cappelli

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

How did colonialism interact with the development of human capital in Africa? We create an innovative panel dataset on numeracy across African countries before, during and after the Scramble for Africa (1730-1970) by drawing on new sources and by carefully assessing potential selection bias. The econometric evidence that we provide, based on OLS, 2SLS and Propensity Score Matching, shows that colonialism had very diverse effects on human capital depending on the education policy of the colonizer. Although the average marginal impact of colonialism on the growth of numeracy was positive, the premium that we find was driven by the British educational system. Especially after 1900, the strategies chosen by the British were associated with faster human-capital accumulation, while other colonies were characterized by a negative premium on the growth of education. We connect this finding to the reliance of British education policy on mission schools, which used local languages and the human capital of local teachers to expand schooling in the colonies. We also show that this, in turn, had long-lasting effects on economic growth, which persist to the present day.

Keywords: Africa, Colonialism, Education Policy, Human Capital, Numeracy

JEL Classification: N37, O15

Suggested Citation

Baten, Jorg and Cappelli, Gabriele, The Evolution of Human Capital in Africa, 1730-1970: A Colonial Legacy? (May 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11273. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2780381

Jorg Baten (Contact Author)

University of Tuebingen - Department of Economics ( email )

Mohlstrasse 36
D-72074 Tuebingen, 72074
Germany
+49 7071 2972985 (Phone)
+49 7071 295119 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Gabriele Cappelli

Autonomous University of Barcelona ( email )

Edifici B, Campus UAB
Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193
Spain

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
366
PlumX Metrics