IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v104y2013icp233-244.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history

Author

Listed:
  • Cantoni, Davide
  • Yuchtman, Noam

Abstract

Beyond years of schooling, educational content can play an important role in the process of economic development. Individuals' choices of educational content are often shaped by the political economy of government policies that determine the incentives to acquire various skills. We first present a model in which differences in human capital investments emerge as an equilibrium outcome of private decisions and government policy choices. We then illustrate these dynamics in two historical circumstances. In medieval Europe, states and the Church found individuals trained in Roman law valuable, and eventually supported productive investments in this new form of human capital. In late 19th-century China, elites were threatened by the introduction of Western science and engineering and continued to select civil servants—who enjoyed substantial rents—based on their knowledge of the Confucian classics; as a result, investments in productive, modern human capital were not made.

Suggested Citation

  • Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 233-244.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:104:y:2013:i:c:p:233-244
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.04.004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387813000679
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    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. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    2. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2016. "Education as Liberation?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 1-30, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Engerman, Stanley L. & Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 2005. "The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 891-921, December.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    6. Mark Dincecco & Mauricio Prado, 2012. "Warfare, fiscal capacity, and performance," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 171-203, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Teaching Practices and Social Capital," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 189-210, July.
    9. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2010. "State Capacity, Conflict, and Development," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 1-34, January.
    10. Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2014. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 823-887.
    11. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    12. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:100:y:2006:i:01:p:115-131_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Juan Botero & Alejandro Ponce & Andrei Shleifer, 2012. "Education and the Quality of Government," NBER Working Papers 18119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    17. 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.
    18. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355.
    19. 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.
    20. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
    21. 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.
    22. Ran Abramitzky & Isabelle Sin, 2014. "Book Translations As Idea Flows: The Effects Of The Collapse Of Communism On The Diffusion Of Knowledge," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1453-1520, December.
    23. 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.
    24. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1995. "The Needham Puzzle: Why the Industrial Revolution Did Not Originate in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 269-292, January.
    25. Sing-Kong Lee & Chor Boon Goh & Birger Fredriksen & Jee Peng Tan, 2008. "Toward a Better Future : Education and Training for Economic Development in Singapore since 1965
      [Hacia un futuro mejor : educación y formación para el desarrollo económico de Singapur desde 1965]
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6432.
    26. Irma Clots‐Figueras & Paolo Masella, 2013. "Education, Language and Identity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 332-357, August.
    27. Paul Bennell, 1996. "General versus vocational secondary education in developing countries: A review of the rates of return evidence," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 230-247.
    28. Philippe Aghion & Torsten Persson & Dorothee Rouzet, 2012. "Education and Military Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 18049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
    30. Saumitra Jha, 2015. "Financial Asset Holdings and Political Attitudes: Evidence from Revolutionary England," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(3), pages 1485-1545.
    31. Fali Huang, 2012. "Why Did Universities Precede Primary Schools? A Political Economy Model Of Educational Change," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(2), pages 418-434, April.
    32. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2005. "Religious school enrollment in Pakistan : a look at the data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3521, The World Bank.
    33. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2006. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 100(01), pages 115-131, February.
    34. 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(02), 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. Fan Li & Prashant Loyalka & Hongmei Yi & Yaojiang Shi & Natalie Johnson & Scott Rozelle, 2016. "Ability Tracking and Social Capital in China’s Rural Secondary School System," LICOS Discussion Papers 37916, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Pawel Bukowski, 2015. "What Determines The Long-Run Persistence of the Empires? The Effect of the Partition of Poland on Education," CEU Working Papers 2015_3, Department of Economics, Central European University.
    3. Davide Cantoni & Yuyu Chen & David Y. Yang & Noam Yuchtman & Y. Jane Zhang, 2017. "Curriculum and Ideology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 338-392.
    4. Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2014. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 823-887.
    5. Chen, Yuyu & Naidu, Suresh & Yu, Tinghua & Yuchtman, Noam, 2015. "Intergenerational mobility and institutional change in 20th century China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 44-73.
    6. Yuchtman, Noam, 2017. "Teaching to the tests: An economic analysis of traditional and modern education in late imperial and republican China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 70-90.
    7. Fan Li & Prashant Loyalka & Hongmei Yi, 2016. "Ability Tracking and Social Capital in China’s Rural Secondary School System," Working Papers id:10972, eSocialSciences.
    8. Koyama, Mark & Xue, Melanie Meng, 2015. "The Literary Inquisition: The Persecution of Intellectuals and Human Capital Accumulation in China," MPRA Paper 62103, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational content; Educational institutions; Political economy; Development;

    JEL classification:

    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    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:eee:deveco:v:104:y:2013:i:c:p:233-244. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    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 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.

    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.