Christian Missions and Anti-Gay Attitudes in Africa

58 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020 Last revised: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Maxim Ananyev

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Michael Poyker

University of Nottingham, School of Economics

Date Written: January 27, 2021

Abstract

We argue that organized religion serves as a powerful mechanism of change and subsequent persistence of cultural norms. We use a geo-coded representative survey of African countries and the location of historical Christian missions to estimate a significant and economically meaningful association between proximity to historical missions and anti-gay sentiments today. Using anthropological data on pre-colonial acceptance of homosexual practices among indigenous groups, we show that the establishment of missions, while nonrandom, was exogenous to pre-existing levels of intolerance among local populations. Thus, we argue that our results
are indicative of a causal effect of missionary religious conversion. Our study demonstrates that organized religion can facilitate change in norms and values.

Keywords: Missions, Africa, Tolerance, Homosexuals, Religion

JEL Classification: J15, N37, Z1

Suggested Citation

Ananyev, Maxim and Poyker, Mikhail, Christian Missions and Anti-Gay Attitudes in Africa (January 27, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3617374 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3617374

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Mikhail Poyker (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham, School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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