Historical Missionary Activity, Schooling, and the Reversal of Fortunes: Evidence from Nigeria

39 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014

See all articles by Dozie Okoye

Dozie Okoye

Dalhousie University - Department of Economics

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 20, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Okoye, Dozie and Pongou, Roland, Historical Missionary Activity, Schooling, and the Reversal of Fortunes: Evidence from Nigeria (August 20, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2484020 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2484020

Dozie Okoye (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Department of Economics ( email )

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5
Canada

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

200 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

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