Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 2 > Issue 4

The Spanish Mission Legacy on Native American Reservations

Lee J. Alston, Professor of Economics and Affiliate Professor of Law, Emeritus, Department of Economics, Indiana University, and Research Associate, The National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER), USA, , Marie Christine Duggan, Professor of Management, Department of Business Management, Keene State College of the University System of New Hampshire, USA, , Julio A. Ramos Pastrana, Assistant Research Professor of Public Policy, School of Public Policy, Pennsylvania State University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Lee J. Alston, Marie Christine Duggan and Julio A. Ramos Pastrana (2023), "The Spanish Mission Legacy on Native American Reservations", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 2: No. 4, pp 527-551.

Publication Date: 06 Feb 2023
© 2023 L. J. Alston, M. C. Duggan, and Julio A. Ramos Pastrana
MissionsNative AmericansSouthwest U.S.reservationsorganizational behavior


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In this article:
Missions and Downstream Outcomes: Transmission Mechanisms 
Appendix 1. Contact with Arizona, California, and New Mexico Missions 


We explore the long-run impact of the Spanish missions on Native American outcomes in the early twentieth century. Native communities who interacted with Spanish missionaries developed into enclaves which blended Catholicism with native culture. Some survived assaults on their property rights by Mexico and the United States to persist as reservations into the twentieth century. We found that having extensive contact with missions increased the percentage of Native Americans Catholic, decreased crime rates, and increased income from agriculture and overall earnings from wages. Surprisingly, we found no impact on education.



Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 2, Issue 4 Special Issue: The Development of the American West: Articles Overview
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.