Protestantism and Human Capital in Guatemala and the Republic of Korea
Protestant missions in the Republic of Korea was able to match mission strategy with existing conditions so as to increase human capital. While the Evangelicals and Pentecostals in Guatemala succeeded by not investing in human capital.
Protestant missions from the United States entered the Republic of Korea and Guatemala in the late 1900s. In the Republic of Korea, they built schools and health centers, but in Guatemala they focused on eschatological urgency. As a result, these diverging approaches to exporting Christianity have had different long-term impacts on the two societies.
Protestant missions from the United States entered the Republic of Korea and Guatemala at the same time (1884 and 1882, respectively). Yet, their impact on human capital has been divergent. The analysis presented in this paper supports the findings of Woodberry (2004, 2009, 2011) and Nunn (2009) in the case of the Republic of Korea. Mainline Protestant missions—Presbyterian and Methodist—promoted the Social Gospel and were the largest in the Republic of Korea implementing successful strategies such as using Korean (Hangul) as the lingua franca in their schools, churches, and medical facilities. Whereas the mainline Protestant denominations in the Republic of Korea successfully promoted investment in human capital, the case of Guatemala does not follow this pattern. Evangelical, Pentecostal, and neo-Pentecostal denominations and churches focused their efforts on evangelizing. Their pre-milliennialist beliefs translated into an eschatological urgency of conversion with little investment in human capital. As a result, institution-building requisite for investment in human capital (establishing educational institutions and medical facilities) characterized Protestant missions in the Republic of Korea, but not Guatemala. These diverging approaches to exporting Christianity have had differing long-term effects on the two societies.
- 19th Century Protestantism and US Foreign Missions
- The Fundamentalist Nature of the Guatemala Religion Market
- The Triumph of the Social Gospel in the Republic of Korea