Competitive Religious Entrepreneurs: Christian Missionaries and Female Education in Colonial and Post-Colonial India
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2012
This article explores the influence of Protestant missionaries on male–female educational inequalities in colonial India. Causal mechanisms drawn from the sociology and economics of religion highlight the importance of religious competition for the provision of public goods. Competition between religious and secular groups spurred missionaries to play a key role in the development of mass female schooling. A case study of Kerala illustrates this. The statistical analysis, with district-level datasets, covers colonial and post-colonial periods for most of India. Missionary effects are compared with those of British colonial rule, modernization, European presence, education expenditures, post-colonial democracy, Islam, caste and tribal status, and land tenure. Christian missionary activity is consistently associated with better female education outcomes in both the colonial and post-colonial periods.
- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012
Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science (email: firstname.lastname@example.org); Economics Department, Power System Engineering, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, respectively. The authors wish to thank the Editor Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and three anonymous referees for providing extremely useful suggestions for improvement of the draft article, the British Academy and De Montfort University for supplying funding for this research, and the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University for providing access to superb research resources as part of its Visiting Research Fellow Programme. They are particularly grateful to the staff of the Indian Institute of the Bodleian Library for support in conducting research for this project; and also grateful for advice on data and comments on earlier versions of the paper to Ed Morgan-Jones, Michael Phillips and Latika Chaudhary. Jing Pan, Inga Saikkonen and Alisa Voznaya provided excellent research assistance. Appendix tables containing additional information are available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007123412000178
1 Stark, Rodney and Finke, Roger, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000)Google Scholar
2 Abernethy, David B., The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415–1980 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), p. 226Google Scholar
3 Forbes, Geraldine, ‘In Search of the “Pure Heathen”: Missionary Women in Nineteenth Century India’, Economic and Political Weekly, 21 (1986), 2–8 Google Scholar
5 Trejo, Guillermo, ‘Religious Competition and Ethnic Mobilization in Latin America: Why the Catholic Church Promotes Indigenous Movements in Mexico’, American Political Science Review, 103 (2009), 323–342 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gallego, Francisco A. and Woodberry, Robert, ‘Christian Missionaries and Education in Former Colonies: How Institutions Mattered’ (unpublished manuscript no. 339, Instituto de Economia, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2008)Google Scholar
Bolt, Jutta and Bezemer, Dirk, ‘Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education? Evidence from a New Data Set’ (unpublished paper, University of Groningen, 2008)Google Scholar
Woodberry, Robert D., ‘The Shadow of Empire: Christian Missions, Colonial Policy, and Democracy in Postcolonial Societies’, (doctoral dissertation, University of North Carolina, 2004)Google Scholar
Woodberry, Robert D., ‘Weber through the Back Door: Protestant Competition, Elite Power Dispersion, and the Global Spread of Democracy’, American Political Science Review, 106 (2012), 244–274 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
6 Frykenberg, Robert Eric, ed., Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500, with Special Reference to Caste, Conversion, and Colonialism (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003), pp. 1–32Google Scholar
Stanley, Brian, The Bible and the Flag: Protestant Missions and British Imperialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Leicester: Apollos, 1990)Google Scholar
Beaman, Lori, Duflo, Esther, Pande, Rohina and Topalova, Petia, ‘Women Politicians, Gender Bias, and Policy-Making in Rural India’ (background paper for The State of the World's Children 2007, UNICEF, 2006)Google Scholar
8 Porter, ‘Religion’; Cox, Imperial Fault Lines.
Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996)Google Scholar
Baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Thomas Nugent (New York: Hafner Press, 1949)Google Scholar
Lipset, Seymour Martin, Seong, Kyoung-Ryung and Torres, John Charles, ‘A Comparative Analysis of the Social Requisites of Democracy’, International Social Science Journal, 45 (1993), 155–175 Google Scholar
13 Abernethy, Dynamics of Global Dominance.
14 Bollen, Kenneth A. and Jackman, Robert W., ‘Economic and Noneconomic Determinants of Political Democracy in the 1960s’, Research in Political Sociology, 1 (1985), 27–48 Google Scholar
Przeworski, Adam, Alvarez, Michael E., Cheibub, José Antonio and Limongi, Fernando, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950–1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bernhard, Michael, Reenock, Christopher and Nordstrom, Timothy, ‘The Legacy of Western Overseas Colonialism on Democratic Survival’, International Studies Quarterly, 48 (2004), 225–250 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arat, Zehra F., Democracy and Human Rights in Developing Countries (Boulder. Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1991)Google Scholar
Diamond, Larry, Linz, Juan J. and Lipset, Seymour Martin, eds, Democracy in Developing Countries: Asia, Vol. 3 (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1989)Google Scholar
Weiner, Myron and Ozbudun, E., eds, Competitive Elections in Developing Countries (Durham, N.C.: AEI/Duke, 1987)Google Scholar
15 Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez de Silanez, Andrei Schleifer and Robert Vishny, ‘The Quality of Government’ (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1998)Google Scholar
18 McArthur, John W. and Sachs, Jeffrey, ‘Institutions and Geography: Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000)’ (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper no. 8114, 2001)Google Scholar
20 Bolt and Bezemer, ‘Understanding Long-Run African Growth’.
22 Putnam, Robert, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993)Google Scholar
27 Berger, Social Reality.
28 Gerth, H. H. and Mills, C. Wright, eds, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (London: Routledge, 1995)Google Scholar
30 Walzer, Revolution of the Saints.
31 Berger, Social Reality.
34 Trejo, ‘Religious Competition’.
35 Chesnut, R. Andrew, Competitive Spirits: Latin America's New Religious Economy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)Google Scholar
36 Gallego and Woodberry, ‘Christian Missionaries’.
37 Trejo, ‘Religious Competition’.
38 Iannaccone, ‘Rational Choice’.
39 Koch, Fred C., The Volga Germans in Russia and the Americas, from 1763 to the Present (London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977)Google Scholar
40 Bellenoit, ‘Missionary Education’.
41 Frykenberg, Robert Eric, ed., Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500, with Special Reference to Caste, Conversion, and Colonialism (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003)Google Scholar
42 Ramusack, Barbara, ‘Cultural Missionaries, Maternal Imperialists, Feminist Allies: British Women Activists in India, 1865–1945’, Women's Studies International Forum, 13 (1990), 309–321 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
43 Nurullah, Syed and Naik, J. P., A History of Education in India (During the British Period) (Bombay: Macmillan, 1951)Google Scholar
44 Mani, Lata, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998)Google Scholar
Juergensmeyer, Mark, Religion as Social Vision: The Movement against Untouchability in 20th-Century Punjab (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982)Google Scholar
45 Frykenberg, ‘Introduction’; Juergensmeyer, Religion as Social Vision.
46 Nurullah and Naik, History of Education; Frykenberg, ‘Christians in India’.
47 Frykenberg, ‘Christians in India’.
48 Nurullah and Naik, History of Education; Stanley, The Bible and the Flag: Protestant Missions and British Imperialism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; Frykenberg, ‘Christians in India’.
49 Nurullah and Naik, History of Education.
50 Commission of Inquiry, Village Education in India (London: Oxford University Press, 1920).
51 Nurullah and Naik, History of Education.
53 Commission of Inquiry, Village Education.
54 Hutton, J. H., Census of India, 1931, Vol. I (Delhi: Manager of Publications, 1933)Google Scholar
56 Marten, J. T., Census of India, 1921; Part I –Report, Vol. I (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, 1924)Google Scholar
57 Hutton, Census of India, 1931.
58 Nossiter, T. J., Communism in Kerala: A Study in Political Adaptation (London: C. Hurst, 1982)Google Scholar
59 Hutton, Census of India, 1931.
61 Bayly, Susan, Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society, 1700–1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989)Google Scholar
62 Frykenberg, ‘Christians in India’.
63 Mathew, E. T., ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala: State Intervention, Missionary Initiatives and Social Movements’, Economic and Political Weekly, 34 (1999), 2811–2820 Google Scholar
64 Cited in Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala’, p. 2814.
65 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala’.
66 Desai, Manali, ‘Indirect British Rule, State Formation, and Welfarism in Kerala, India, 1860–1957’, Social Science History, 29 (2005), 457–488 Google Scholar
67 Bayly, Muslims and Christians.
69 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala’.
70 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala’; Ramusack, ‘Cultural Missionaries’.
71 Though some Protestant missionaries defended caste hierarchy in church practice; Frykenberg, ‘Introduction’.
72 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy in Kerala’.
73 Ramusack, ‘Cultural Missionaries’; Forbes, ‘In Search of the “Pure Heathen” ’; Kent, ‘Tamil Bible Women’.
74 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
76 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
77 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
79 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
80 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
81 Kothari, ed., Caste in Indian Politics (New York: Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers, 1970)Google Scholar
82 Hardgrave, ‘Political Paricipation and Primordial Solidarity’; Juergensmeyer, Religion as Social Vision; Frykenberg, ‘Introduction’.
83 Commission of Inquiry, Village Education.
84 Bayly, Muslims and Christians.
86 Bayly, Muslims and Christians.
87 Kooiman, p. 82, cited in Desai, ‘Indirect British Rule’, p. 477.
89 Desai, ‘Indirect British Rule’.
93 Bayly, Muslims and Christians; Geoffrey A. Oddie, ‘Constructing “Hinduism”: The Impact of the Protestant Missionary Movement on Hindu Self-Understanding’, in Frykenberg, ed., Christians and Missionaries.
94 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
95 Cited in Desai, ‘Indirect British Rule’, p. 471.
96 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
97 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
98 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’; Hutton, Census of India, 1931.
99 Mathew, ‘Growth of Literacy’.
100 Nossiter, Communism.
101 R. P. Singh and Jayant Kumar Banthia, India Administrative Atlas, 1872–2001: A Historical Perspective of Evolution of Districts and States in India (Delhi: Controller of Publications, 2004).
102 These districts are part of the following administrative territories: Ajmer-Merwara, Assam, Baroda, Bengal proper, Berar, Bihar, Bombay, Central India Agency, Central Provinces, Chota Nagpur, Cochin State, Coorg, Hyderabad, Kashmir, Madras, Mysore, North-West Frontier Province and Punjab, Orissa, Rajputana Agency, Travancore, and United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.
103 Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Pondicherry. Goa, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli were annexed by the Indian government in 1961. Pondicherry was ceded by the French in 1956.
104 Hill, M. Anne and King, Elizabeth M., eds., Women's Education in Developing Countries: Barriers, Benefits, and Policies (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)Google Scholar
105 Plantenga, Janneke, Remery, Chantal, Figueiredo, Hugo and Smith, Mark, ‘Towards an EU Gender Equality Index’ (Vredenburg: Utrecht School of Economics/UMIST, 2001)Google Scholar
Dijkstra, Geske A. and Hanmer, Lucia C., ‘Measuring Socioeconomic Gender Inequality: Towards an Alternative to the UNDP Gender-Related Index’, Feminist Economics, 6 (2000), 41–75 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hausmann, Ricardo, Tyson, Laura D. and Zahidi, Saadia, The Global Gender Gap Report (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2009)Google Scholar
Sen, Amartya, Development as Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)Google Scholar
107 Hausmann et al., Global Gender Gap; King and Hill, ‘Women's Education in Developing Countries’.
110 Sen, Resources; King and Hill, ‘Women's Education in Developing Countries’.
111 In Table 1, colonial status also has a positive and statistically significant effect on female literacy.
113 Missing data on educational expenditure have been supplied from the University of Chicago Digital South Asia Library http://dsal.uchicago.edu/ (15 June 2010).
115 Acemoglu et al., ‘Colonial Origins’.
116 Hutton, Census of India, 1931.
118 Bhagavan, Manu Belur, Sovereign Spheres: Princes, Education, and Empire in Colonial India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003)Google Scholar
119 Hardgrave, The Nadars; Bayly, Muslims and Christians.
120 Reeve Vanneman and Douglas Barnes, ‘Indian District Data, 1961–1991: machine-readable data file and codebook.’(2000) http://www.inform.umd.edu/~districts/index.html. College Park, Maryland: Center on Population, Gender, and Social Inequality (20 May 2010).
121 We are grateful to Abhijit Banerjee and Lakshmi Iyer for sharing their data.
122 Brown, David S., ‘Reading, Writing, and Regime Type: Democracy's Impact on Primary School Enrollment’, Political Research Quarterly, 52 (1999), 681–707 Google Scholar
Kaufman, Robert R. and Segura-Ubiergo, Alex, ‘Globalization, Domestic Politics, and Social Spending in Latin America: A Time-Series Cross-Section Analysis, 1973–97’, World Politics, 53 (2001), 553–587 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
125 There are missing data on post-colonial educational expenditure in Kashmir.
126 Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions, and Economic Performance’.
127 Correlation matrixes for the colonial and post-colonial variables are available from the authors upon request.
130 In this and post-colonial analysis the colonial status variable has not been logged because it is a dummy variable.
131 Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions, and Economic Performance’.
132 Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions, and Economic Performance’.
133 Andrew R. Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America's New Religious Economy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)Google Scholar
134 Discussed in Frykenberg, ‘Introduction’, p. 9.
136 Commission of Inquiry, Village Education.
Subramanian, Narendra, Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens, and Democracy in South India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999)Google Scholar
138 Lipset, Seong and Torres, ‘Comparative Analysis’; Barro, ‘Determinants’. The Appendix Table 4 shows though that colonial status positively affects overall literacy levels in the post-colonial, though not colonial period.
140 Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions, and Economic Performance’.