I just ran across an interesting looking working paper called “The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa” (co-authored by Julia Cage and Valeria Rueda).
Here is a preview of their results:
We find that proximity to the closest location of a mission with a printing press has a positive and statistically significant impact on the probability of reading the news. A one-standard deviation increase in the proximity to a mission with a printing press increases the probability of reading the news on a monthly basis from 3 to 14% of a standard deviation, depending on the specifications. In contrast, proximity to a mission without a printing press has no significant impact on newspaper readership. Moreover, we also find that a one-standard deviation increase in the proximity to a mission with a printing press increases contemporary economic development by around 10% of a standard deviation.
My “to-read” pile has just gotten bigger.