Colonial Institutions, Trade Shocks, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889-1930
AbstractIn this paper, we examine the role of trade shocks in promoting the diffusion of elementary education in subnational units in Brazil during a period (1889-1930) in which they had relative financial autonomy to collect export taxes and spend on public goods. The argument is that trade shocks affect asymetrically the tax revenues of state governments and, thus, their expenditures on elementary education per capita according to what crop mix they had. We then show that states with more egalitarian and democratic institutions use positive trade shocks to invest in education, while the opposite takes place in states with less democratic institutions (e.g., in states that had more slaves). We also show using OLS and instrumental variables that positive trade shocks increased expenditures on education per capita and led to higher literacy rates and to more schools per children. The resulting distribution of human capital across states persists until today.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 10-075.
Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision: Dec 2012
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-03-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2010-03-20 (Development)
- NEP-POL-2010-03-20 (Positive Political Economics)
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