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The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa



Type:   Working paper
Titre:   The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa
Auteur(s):   Cage, Julia (1984-...) - Département d'économie (Auteur)
Rueda, Valeria (PhD) - Département d'économie (Auteur)
Date de publication:   2014-10
Collection:   Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers  :  2014-15
Mots-clés:   [en] Historical persistence, Economic development., Political participation, Newspaper readership, Protestant missions, Printing press
JEL:   D72,  N37,  N77,  O33,  Z12,  Z13
Résumé:   [en] This article delves into the relationship between newspaper readership and civic attitudes, and its effect on economic development. To this end, we investigate the long-term consequences of the introduction of the printing press in the 19th century. In sub-Saharan Africa, Protestant missionaries were the first both to import the printing press technology and to allow the indigenous population to use it. We build a new geocoded dataset locating Protestant missions in 1903. This dataset includes, for each mission station, the geographic location and its characteristics, as well as the educational and health-related investments undertaken by the mission. We show that, within regions located close to missions, proximity to a printing press significantly increases newspaper readership today. We also document a strong association between proximity to a printing press and contemporary economic development. Our results are robust to a variety of identification strategies.


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