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Culture, Spatial Diffusion of Ideas and their Long-Lasting Imprints: Evidence from Froebel's Kindergarten Movement

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  • Stefan Bauernschuster
  • Oliver Falck

Abstract

We document the spatial diffusion of Friedrich Froebel's radical invention of kindergartens in 19th-century Germany. The first kindergarten was founded at Froebel's birthplace. Early spatial diffusion can be explained by cultural proximity, measured by historical dialect similarity, to Froebel's birthplace. This result is robust to the inclusion of higher order polynomials in geographic distance and similarity measures with respect to industry, geography or religion. Our findings suggest that a common cultural basis facilitates the spill-over of ideas. We further show that the contemporaneous spatial pattern of child care coverage is still correlated with cultural similarity to Froebel's place of birth.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 659.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp659

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Keywords: Culture; spatial diffusion; public child care;

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  1. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens & Lameli, Alfred, 2014. "Why are educated and risk-loving persons more mobile across regions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 56-69.
  2. Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales & Luigi Guiso, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 11999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stefan Bauernschuster & Martin Schlotter, 2013. "Public Child Care and Mothers' Labor Supply - Evidence from Two Quasi-Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 4191, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange," NBER Working Papers 11005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Comin, Diego & Dmitriev, Mikhail & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2012. "The Spatial Diffusion of Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 9208, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
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