The Reluctant Transformation: Modernization, Religion, and Human Capital in Nineteenth Century Egypt

Saleh, Mohamed (2012) The Reluctant Transformation: Modernization, Religion, and Human Capital in Nineteenth Century Egypt. IAST working paper, n. 12-05

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Over the nineteenth century, Egypt embarked on one of the world's earliest state-led
modernization programs in production, education, and the army. I examine the impact of
this ambitious program on long-standing human capital differentials and occupational and
educational segregation between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. I employ a new and
unique data source, samples of the 1848 and 1868 Egyptian censuses that I digitized from
the original manuscript forms, to examine this question. I find that the first wave of
industrial modernization widened the religious occupational gap that was traditionally in
favor of non-Muslims, but the second wave led to upward occupational mobility among
both Muslims and Christians, although it did not alter the gap. Educational and military
modernization, on the other hand, favored Muslims who benefited from these institutions
almost exclusively, but the impact was too limited to induce a general catching-up effect.
Overall, occupational and educational segregation was not attenuated by modernization,
both because the traditional institutions in production and education were still the major
routes for skill-acquisition, and because the new routes for mobility that modernization
created were themselves segregated.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Language: English
Date: October 2012
JEL codes: N35 - Asia including Middle East
O14 - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2014 17:28
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:22

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