IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/ereveh/v20y2016i1p46-65..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy's regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861–1936

Author

Listed:
  • Gabriele Cappelli

Abstract

The role played by public policy in the development of Italy's human capital in the late nineteenth century and the Interwar period has long remained unexplored by quantitative economic history. This article explores whether a system of decentralized primary education slowed down regional convergence in schooling, since poor and backward areas could not afford to invest a suitable amount of resources in education. It also investigates whether a more centralized system introduced in 1911 fostered the development of basic education and reduced the country's regional disparities. The analysis confirms the existence of such a human capital trap and shows that centralized primary education fostered the development of Italy's schooling in the Interwar period.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy's regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861–1936," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:20:y:2016:i:1:p:46-65.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ereh/hev020
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    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. 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.
    2. Xu, Yi & Foldvari, Peter & Van Leeuwen, Bas, 2013. "Human capital in Qing China: economic determinism or a history of failed opportunities?," MPRA Paper 43525, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Chaudhary, Latika & Musacchio, Aldo & Nafziger, Steven & Yan, Se, 2012. "Big BRICs, weak foundations: The beginning of public elementary education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 221-240.
    4. Emanuele Felice, 2012. "Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(3), pages 267-306, October.
    5. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The Century of Education," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-42.
    6. Ghazala Mansuri & Vijayendra Rao, 2013. "Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11859.
    7. Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Passive modernization? The new human development index and its components in Italy's regions (1871–2007)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 44-66.
    8. Lindert, Peter H., 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 315-350, June.
    9. 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.
    10. 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).
    11. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Race between Education and Technology: The Evolution of U.S. Educational Wage Differentials, 1890 to 2005," NBER Working Papers 12984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Go, Sun & Lindert, Peter, 2010. "The Uneven Rise of American Public Schools to 1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-26, March.
    13. Emanuele Felice, 2007. "I divari regionali in Italia sulla base degli indicatori sociali (1871-2001)," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(2), pages 359-406, March-Apr.
    14. Luigi Guiso & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Democratization and Civic Capital," EIEF Working Papers Series 1202, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2012.
    15. P. Battilani, 2011. "Local administration funding and regional disparities in Italy before WW1," Working Papers wp757, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    16. Karen Clay & Jeff Lingwall & Melvin Stephens, Jr., 2012. "Do Schooling Laws Matter? Evidence from the Introduction of Compulsory Attendance Laws in the United States," NBER Working Papers 18477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Graeme Smith, 2011. "Chinese Economic Development – By Chris Bramall," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(2), pages 208-210, July.
    18. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "Regional value added in Italy, 1891–2001, and the foundation of a long‐term picture," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 929-950, August.
    19. Lindert, Peter H., 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 315-350, June.
    20. Leandro Conte & Giuseppe Della Torre & Michelangelo Vasta, 2007. "The Human Development Index in Historical Perspective: Italy from Political Unification to the Present Day," Department of Economics University of Siena 491, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    21. Mimì Coccia & Giuseppe Della Torre, 2007. "La ricostruzione dei consumi pubblici nel campo dell'istruzione nell’Italia liberale: 1861-1913," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 009, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
    22. Crafts, N. F. R., 1997. "The Human Development Index and changes in standards of living: Some historical comparisons," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 299-322, December.
    23. David F. Mitch, 1986. "The Impact of Subsidies to Elementary Schooling on Enrolment Rates in Nineteenth-century England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 39(3), pages 371-391, August.
    24. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    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. 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.
    2. Giorgio Brosio, 2018. "Coercion and equity with centralization of government: how the unification of Italy impacted the southern regions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 177(3), pages 235-264, December.
    3. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia & Alfonso Díez-Minguela & Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado, 2019. "The uneven transition towards universal literacy in Spain, 1860-1930," Working Papers 0173, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Carlo Ciccarelli & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Pioneering into the past: Regional literacy developments in Italy before Italy," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 329-364.
    5. Enrico Berbenni & Stefano Colombo, 2021. "The impact of pandemics: revising the Spanish Flu in Italy in light of models’ predictions, and some lessons for the Covid-19 pandemic," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 48(2), pages 219-243, June.
    6. Anna Missiaia, 2019. "Market versus endowment: explaining early industrial location in Italy (1871–1911)," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 13(1), pages 127-161, January.
    7. 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).
    8. Paolo Di Martino & Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2017. "The curious case of the coexistence of two “access-orders”: Explaining the Italian regional divide," Department of Economics University of Siena 758, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    9. Paola Azar & Sergio Espuelas, 2021. "Democracy and primary education spending in Spain, 1902-22," UB Economics Working Papers 2021/409, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics.
    10. Ralph Hippe & Maciej Jakubowski & Luisa De Sousa Lobo Borges de Araujo, 2018. "Regional inequalities in PISA: the case of Italy and Spain," JRC Working Papers JRC109057, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    11. Marchingiglio, Riccardo, 2021. "Local institutions and public school spending under restricted suffrage: The case of post-unitary Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1351-1373.
    12. Andersson, Jens & Berger, Thor, 2016. "Elites and the Expansion of Education in 19th-century Sweden," Lund Papers in Economic History 149, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    13. Giorgio Brosio, 2017. "Equalization transfers and convergence between federal and unitary systems: A contribution to their historical analysis," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2017(3), pages 21-66.
    14. Esther Hauk & Javier Ortega, 2021. "Schooling, nation building and industrialization," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 33(1), pages 56-94, January.
    15. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "One size that didn’t fit all? Electoral franchise, fiscal capacity and the rise of mass schooling across Italy’s provinces, 1870–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 10(3), pages 311-343, September.
    16. Giorgio Brosio, 2017. "Equalization transfers and convergence between federal and unitary systems: a contribution to their historical analysis," Working papers 61, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    17. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The socio-institutional divide. Explaining Italy's regional inequality over the long run," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 503, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

    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. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "One size that didn’t fit all? Electoral franchise, fiscal capacity and the rise of mass schooling across Italy’s provinces, 1870–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 10(3), pages 311-343, September.
    2. Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Passive modernization? The new human development index and its components in Italy's regions (1871–2007)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 44-66.
    3. Chaudhary, Latika & Musacchio, Aldo & Nafziger, Steven & Yan, Se, 2012. "Big BRICs, weak foundations: The beginning of public elementary education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 221-240.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Peter H. Lindert, 2009. "Revealing Failures in the History of School Finance," NBER Working Papers 15491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia & Alfonso Díez-Minguela & Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado, 2019. "The uneven transition towards universal literacy in Spain, 1860-1930," Working Papers 0173, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    8. Claude DIEBOLT & Ralph HIPPE, 2017. "Regional human capital inequality in Europe in the long run, 1850-2010," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 45, pages 5-30.
    9. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
    10. Emanuele Felice, 2012. "Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(3), pages 267-306, October.
    11. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2018. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in twentieth-century productivity growth," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(1), pages 61-97, January.
    12. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "The determinants of Italy's regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _088, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    13. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.
    14. Felice, Emanuele, 2014. "Il Mezzogiorno fra storia e pubblicistica. Una replica a Daniele e Malanima [Southern Italy between history and journalistic books. A reply to Daniele and Malanima]," MPRA Paper 55830, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Emanuele Felice, 2013. "Regional income inequality in Italy in the long run (1871–2001). Patterns and determinants," UHE Working papers 2013_08, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    16. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia & Alfonso Díez-Minguela & Julio Martinez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado-Fabregat, 2018. "Two stories, one fate: Age-heaping and literacy in Spain, 1877-1930," Working Papers 0139, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    17. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "The determinants of Italy’s regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _088, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    18. Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung, 2016. "Land Inequality, Education, and Marriage: Empirical Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 6072, CESifo.
    19. Gabriele Cappelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2021. "A “Silent Revolution”: school reforms and Italy’s educational gender gap in the Liberal Age (1861–1921)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 203-229, January.
    20. Claude DIEBOLT & Charlotte LE CHAPELAIN, 2019. "Human Capital and Economic Growth," Working Papers of BETA 2019-02, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - 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:oup:ereveh:v:20:y:2016:i:1:p:46-65.. 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: .

    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: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    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.