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Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution

Listed author(s):
  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Erik Hornung
  • Ludger Woessmann

Research increasingly stresses the role of human capital in modern economic development. Existing historical evidence -- mostly from British textile industries -- however, rejects that formal education was important for the Industrial Revolution. Our new evidence from technological follower Prussia uses a unique school enrollment and factory employment database linking 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Using pre-industrial education as instrument for later education and controlling extensively for pre-industrial development, we find that basic education is significantly associated with nontextile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution. Panel data models with county fixed effects confirm the results. (JEL I20, J24, N13, N33, N63)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.3.3.92
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 92-126

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:92-126
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.3.92
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
  2. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
  3. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521687850, August.
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  5. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
  6. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
  7. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 693-732.
  9. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 2005. "Human Capital and Technology Diffusion," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 935-966 Elsevier.
  10. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
  11. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
  12. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, 08.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A., 1981. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-17, March.
  14. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
  15. Lenoir, Timothy, 1998. "Revolution from Above: The Role of the State in Creating the German Research System, 1810-1910," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 22-27, May.
  16. Sascha Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 177-204, September.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, 03.
  18. Sandberg, Lars G., 1979. "The Case of the Impoverished Sophisticate: Human Capital and Swedish Economic Growth before World War I," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(01), pages 225-241, March.
  19. Bessen, James, 2003. "Technology and Learning by Factory Workers: The Stretch-Out at Lowell, 1842," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(01), pages 33-64, March.
  20. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  21. Becker, Sascha & Hornung, Erik & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revoluti on," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-19, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  22. N. F. R. Crafts, 1977. "Industrial Revolution in England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question, “Why was England First?”," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 30(3), pages 429-441, 08.
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