DP15640 Jesus speaks Korean: Christianity and Literacy in Colonial Korea
|Author(s):||Sascha O. Becker, Cheongyeon Won|
|Publication Date:||January 2021|
|Keyword(s):||Gender Gap, Korea, Literacy, Missionaries, religion|
|JEL(s):||I21, J16, N35, Z12|
|Programme Areas:||Economic History|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15640|
In the mid 19th century, pre-colonial Korea under the Joseon dynasty was increasingly isolated and lagging behind in its economic development. Joseon Korea was forced to sign unequal treaties with foreign powers as a result of which Christian missionaries entered the country and contributed to the establishment of private schools. We show that areas with a larger presence of Christians have higher literacy rates in 1930, during the Japanese colonial period. We also show that a higher number of Protestants is associated with higher female literacy, consistent with a stronger emphasis on female education in Protestant denominations.