The religious roots of inequality in Africa [electronic resource]
- Melina Raquel Platas Izama.
- Physical description
- 1 online resource.
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- Compared to Christians, Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa have fewer years of education, are less likely to be literate in any language, and their children are less likely to be in school. This project is the first to provide a quantitative and comparative documentation of this widespread inequality, and addresses two key questions. First, what are the origins of the Christian-Muslim education gap in Africa? Second, what explains variation in its persistence over time? I find that religious demographics play an important role in explaining the origins and persistence of the Christian-Muslim education gap in Africa. Employing case studies of colonial Nigeria and Uganda, I find that the distribution of the Muslim population and the degree of Islamization of political institutions in pre-colonial Africa affected demand for and investment in education in the colonial period through two channels: the religious marketplace and the structure of political power. Within Uganda, the percentage of an ethnic group that is Muslim is negatively correlated with Muslim educational attainment and positively correlated with the magnitude of the Christian-Muslim education gap in the colonial period. Further, Muslim educational attainment during the colonial period is predicted by exposure to missionary schools. There is considerable variation in persistence of educational inequality across countries over time. In some cases, the Christian-Muslim education gap has remained stable or declined, and in other cases the gap has grown. I suggest that part of the persistence of inequality is also related to religious demographics. Muslims in several African countries today continue to have worse educational outcomes, and the Christian-Muslim education gap is larger, where they comprise a local majority. The long-term effect of colonial investments, and particularly physical access to schools, likely explains some but not all of this relationship in the current period. In the case of Malawi, controlling for access, Muslims living as a majority continue to have lower educational attainment than Christians living in the same area and than Muslims living as minority. I conduct a household survey with embedded experiments to investigate a set of mechanisms that may underlie this relationship.
- Publication date
- Submitted to the Department of Political Science.
- Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2016.
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