Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Tertiary Education and Prosperity in Developing Countries: Catholic Missions to Luminosity in India


Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay

Indian Statistical Institute

Thursday, 10th September 2015 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited

This paper estimates the causal impact of tertiary education on luminosity across Indian districts. We address the potential endogeneity of tertiary education using the location of Catholic missions in 1911 as an instrument for current tertiary education. Controlling for geographical and historical characteristics of districts, we find Catholic missions have a large and positive impact on tertiary education. Catholics were not at the forefront of tertiary education in colonial India, but they established a dense network of high quality colleges following Indian independence. The IV estimates find a large and positive impact of tertiary education on development, as measured by night light satellite data. Our results are robust to alternative measures of development such as district GDP per-capita. In addition, sensitivity analyses suggest the findings are not driven by alternative channels by which historical missions could impact current income.

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