Autor: Romero Maria Noelia*, Okada Da Silva Vinicius**, Stocker Abigail**, Thornton Rebecca**

Institución: *University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)-UdeSA, **University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), ***Baylor University

Año: 2023

JEL: N0, N3


This paper evaluates the impact of early life exposure to Bible translations on education. To estimate causal effects and avoid issues with selection into translation and mission locations, we compare educational outcomes across cohorts of individuals within language groups, with and without exposure to a Bible translation in their mother-tongue language, during their primary school years. We analyze data from a representative sample of ~77,000 adults in 13 sub-Saharan African countries using the Demographic and Health Surveys. Our difference-in-differences strategy accounts for the differential timing of Bible translations and the increase in educational outcomes over time within each language. Individuals born ten to fifteen years after the first Bible translation are 14 percentage points more likely to be literate later in life and attain 1.5 additional years of education than those born before the translation. Effects do not vary by proximity to missions (either Catholic or Protestant), distance to a printing press, urban area, or religious faith. We provide the first causal evidence of the impact of the Bible on education.