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Christian missions and anti-gay attitudes in Africa

Maxim Ananyev and Mikhail Poyker

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2021, vol. 184, issue C, 359-374

Abstract: We argue that colonial Christian missions had a long-term impact on anti-gay attitudes in Africa. We use a geo-coded representative survey of African countries and the location of historical Christian missions to estimate a significant and economically meaningful association between proximity to historical missions and anti-gay sentiments today. Using anthropological data on pre-colonial acceptance of homosexual practices among indigenous groups, we show that the establishment of missions, while nonrandom, was exogenous to pre-existing same-sex patterns among indigenous population. The estimated effect is driven by persons of Christian faith and statistically indistinguishable from zero on samples of Muslims, nonbelievers, and followers of traditional indigenous religions. Thus, we argue that our results are indicative of a causal effect of missionary religious conversion to Christianity.

Keywords: Missions; Africa; Tolerance; Homosexuals; Religion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 N37 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:184:y:2021:i:c:p:359-374

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.02.003

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