IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/afc/cliome/v12y2018i1p99-126.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Human capital formation in the long run: evidence from average years of schooling in England, 1300–1900

Author

Listed:
  • Alexandra M. de Pleijt

    (Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Abstract

In this paper, I quantify average years of education present in the English population between 1307 and 1900. The estimates are based on extensive source material on literacy rates, number of primary and secondary schools and enrolment figures. An additional distinction is made on the basis of gender and of level of schooling. The trends in the data are indicative of significant increases in the level of educational attainment during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This remarkable growth in schooling was followed by a strong decline in average years of education after ca. 1720. Whilst one in seven boys entered secondary schooling at the end of seventeenth century, this had decreased to one in thirty by the 1880s. Overall, the trends in the data suggest that education was beneficial to pre-industrial economic growth, but this was not sustained following the initial stage of the industrialisation process.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandra M. de Pleijt, 2018. "Human capital formation in the long run: evidence from average years of schooling in England, 1300–1900," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 12(1), pages 99-126, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:12:y:2018:i:1:p:99-126
    DOI: 10.1007/s11698-016-0156-3
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11698-016-0156-3
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to journal subscribers

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s11698-016-0156-3?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Morgan Kelly & Joel Mokyr & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2014. "Precocious Albion: A New Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 363-389, August.
    4. Jacob,Margaret C., 2014. "The First Knowledge Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107044012.
    5. Jean-Luc Demeulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2011. "Education and Growth: What Links for Which Policy?," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 36(4), pages 323-346.
    6. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, August.
    7. Dennison, Tracy & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2014. "Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 651-693, September.
    8. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    9. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    10. Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2014. "Ready for Revolution? The English Economy before 1800," Working Papers 201418, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    11. 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.
    12. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Dominique Peeters, 2007. "Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density, and the Transition to Modern Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 183-226, March.
    13. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    14. A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 783-808, September.
    15. Mokyr, Joel, 2005. "Long-Term Economic Growth and the History of Technology," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 1113-1180, Elsevier.
    16. Claude Diebolt & Ralph Hippe, 2019. "The long-run impact of human capital on innovation and economic development in the regions of Europe," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 542-563, January.
    17. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477.
    18. Sascha O. Becker & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 92-126, July.
    19. Joerg Baten & Jan Zanden, 2008. "Book production and the onset of modern economic growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 217-235, September.
    20. Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2012. "The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lern11-1, December.
    21. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783.
    22. Carmichael, Sarah G. & de Pleijt, Alexandra & van Zanden, Jan Luiten & De Moor, Tine, 2016. "The European Marriage Pattern and Its Measurement," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 196-204, March.
    23. Alexandra M. de Pleijt & Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2017. "Human capital formation from occupations: the ‘deskilling hypothesis’ revisited," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 11(1), pages 1-30, January.
    24. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    25. Uwe Sunde & Thomas Vischer, 2015. "Human Capital and Growth: Specification Matters," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(326), pages 368-390, April.
    26. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    27. Broadberry,Stephen & O'Rourke,Kevin H., 2010. "The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521708395.
    28. 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.
    29. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    30. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
    31. Humphries,Jane, 2010. "Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521847568.
    32. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    33. Claude Diebolt & Audrey-Rose Menard & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "Behind the Fertility-Education Nexus: What Triggered the French Development Process?," Working Papers of BETA 2016-10, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    34. repec:cge:wacage:2015 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Albers, Ronald, 1997. "Human Capital and Economic Growth: Operationalising Growth Theory, with Special Reference to the Netherlands in the 19th Century"," GGDC Research Memorandum 199734, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    36. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    37. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    38. Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf, 2014. "The Wages of Women in England, 1260-1850," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _127, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    39. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
    40. Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2011. "The Malthusian Intermezzo - Women’s wages and human capital formation between the Late Middle Ages and the Demographic Transition of the 19th century," Working Papers 0014, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    41. Claude Diebolt & Faustine Perrin, 2013. "From Stagnation to Sustained Growth: The Role of Female Empowerment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 545-549, May.
    42. 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.
    43. Crafts, Nicholas F R, 1996. "The First Industrial Revolution: A Guided Tour for Growth Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 197-201, May.
    44. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 832-861, September.
    45. Jacob,Margaret C., 2014. "The First Knowledge Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107619838.
    46. Humphries, Jane & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2015. "The Wages of Women in England, 1260–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 405-447, June.
    47. repec:dgr:rugggd:199734 is not listed on IDEAS
    48. Peter Lindert, 2004. "Social Spending and Economic Growth," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 6-16.
    49. Dennison, Tracy K. & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2016. "Institutions, Demography, and Economic Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 205-217, March.
    50. Allen, Robert C. & Bengtsson, Tommy & Dribe, Martin (ed.), 2005. "Living Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199280681.
    51. John Hatcher, 1986. "Mortality in the Fifteenth Century: Some New Evidence," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 39(1), pages 19-38, February.
    52. 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(1), pages 225-241, March.
    53. M. A. Jonker, 2003. "Estimation of life expectancy in the Middle Ages," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 166(1), pages 105-117, February.
    54. Buringh, Eltjo & Van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2009. "Charting the “Rise of the West†: Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 409-445, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Pei Gao & Eric B. Schneider, 2021. "The growth pattern of British children, 1850–1975," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 74(2), pages 341-371, May.
    2. Adrien Montalbo, 2022. "Primary education and economic growth in nineteenth-century France," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(2), pages 277-332, May.
    3. Adrien Montalbo, 2020. "Industrial activities and primary schooling in early nineteenth-century France," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 14(2), pages 325-365, May.
    4. Adrien Montalbo, 2019. "Education and economic development. The influence of primary schooling on municipalities in nineteenth-century France," Working Papers halshs-02286126, HAL.
    5. Adrien Montalbo, 2020. "Education supply and economic growth in nineteenth-century France," Working Papers halshs-02482643, HAL.
    6. Broadberry, Stephen N, 2021. "Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent Findings from Historical National Accounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 15936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Childlessness, celibacy and net fertility in pre-industrial England: the middle-class evolutionary advantage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 223-256, September.
    8. Nicholas Crafts, 2021. "The Sources Of British Economic Growth Since The Industrial Revolution: Not The Same Old Story," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 697-709, July.
    9. Montalbo, Adrien, 2021. "Schools without a law: Primary education in France from the Revolution to the Guizot Law," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    10. Pau Insa-Sánchez, 2021. "Inequality of Opportunity in Access to Secondary Education in 19th Century," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 2106, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    11. Pei Gao & Eric B. Schneider, 2021. "The growth pattern of British children, 1850–1975," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 74(2), pages 341-371, May.
    12. Adrien Montalbo, 2018. "Industrial activities and primary schooling in early nineteenth-century France," PSE Working Papers halshs-01826346, HAL.
    13. Baten, Jörg & de Pleijt, Alexandra, 2018. "Female autonomy generates superstars in long-term development: Evidence from 15th to 19th century Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 13348, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Adrien Montalbo, 2020. "Education supply and economic growth in nineteenth-century France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02482643, HAL.
    15. Adrien Montalbo, 2019. "Education and economic development. The influence of primary schooling on municipalities in nineteenth-century France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02286126, HAL.
    16. Sarid, Assaf & Mokyr, Joel & van der Beek, Karine, 2019. "The Wheels of Change: Human Capital, Millwrights, and Industrialization in Eighteenth-Century England," CEPR Discussion Papers 14138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Adrien Montalbo, 2018. "Industrial activities and primary schooling in early nineteenth-century France," Working Papers halshs-01826346, HAL.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. de Pleijt, Alexandra M., 2015. "Human capital and long run economic growth : Evidence from the stock of human capital in England, 1300-1900," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 229, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Jakob B. Madsen & Fabrice Murtin, 2017. "British economic growth since 1270: the role of education," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 229-272, September.
    3. Ralph Hippe & Roger Fouquet, 2015. "The human capital transition and the role of policy," GRI Working Papers 185, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    4. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    5. Èric Gómez-i-Aznar, 2019. "Human capital at the beginnings of the 18th century Catalonia: age-heaping and numeracy in a changing economy," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1904, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    6. Erik Hornung, 2012. "Humankapital, technologische Diffusion und Wachstum - Entwicklung in Preußen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 46.
    7. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2017. "The role of human capital and innovation in economic development: evidence from post-Malthusian Prussia," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 193-227, June.
    8. Baten, Jörg & de Pleijt, Alexandra, 2018. "Female autonomy generates superstars in long-term development: Evidence from 15th to 19th century Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 13348, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Becker, Sascha O. & Hornung, Erik & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution," IZA Discussion Papers 4556, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. James Foreman‐Peck & Peng Zhou, 2018. "Late marriage as a contributor to the industrial revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1073-1099, November.
    11. Feldman, Naomi E. & van der Beek, Karine, 2016. "Skill choice and skill complementarity in eighteenth century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 94-113.
    12. Adrien Montalbo, 2022. "Primary education and economic growth in nineteenth-century France," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(2), pages 277-332, May.
    13. Alexandra M. de Pleijt & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2016. "Accounting for the “Little Divergence”: What drove economic growth in pre-industrial Europe, 1300–1800?," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 387-409.
    14. Bergoña Álvarez & Fernando Ramos Palencia, 2016. "The Role of human capital in pre-industrial societies: skills and earnings in eighteenth-century Castile (Spain)," Working Papers 0099, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    15. Philips, Robin C. M. & Földvàri, Péter & Van Leeuwen, Bas, 2017. "Drivers of industrialisation: intersectoral evidence from the Low Countries in the nineteenth century," MPRA Paper 83304, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Jakob Brochner Madsen, 2016. "Human Accomplishment and Growth in Britain since 1270: The Role of Great Scientists and Education," Monash Economics Working Papers 01-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    17. Alexandra de Pleijt & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2021. "Two worlds of female labour: gender wage inequality in western Europe, 1300–1800," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 74(3), pages 611-638, August.
    18. Álvarez, Begoña & Palencia, Fernando Ramos, 2018. "Human capital and earnings in eighteenth-century Castile," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 105-133.
    19. William F. Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo, 2017. "Engineering Growth: Innovative Capacity and Development in the Americas," CESifo Working Paper Series 6339, CESifo.
    20. Claude Diebolt & Charlotte Le Chapelain & Audrey Rose Menard, 2021. "Neither the elite, nor the mass. The rise of intermediate human capital during the French industrialization process," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 15(1), pages 167-202, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; Industrial revolution; Economic growth; England;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:12:y:2018:i:1:p:99-126. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/afcccea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/afcccea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.