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Farmer Families at the Heart of the Educational Revolution: Which Occupational Group Inherited Human Capital in the Early Modern Era?

  • Franziska Tollnek
  • Joerg Baten

In this paper, we assess the inheritance of human capital in the early modern period with a comprehensive dataset covering eight countries in Europe and Latin America. We focus on the within-household process of human capital formation. Gregory Clark suggested that the wealthy and ‘capitalist’ groups of society provided their offspring with favorable skills. We confirm this finding partially, but there is another large group that reproduces successfully: farmers. By applying age-heaping-based techniques to a dataset of more than 322,000 observations, we argue that farmers contributed significantly to the formation of human capital and, consequently, to modern economic growth.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEH Discussion Papers with number 008.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:008
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  2. Gregory Clark & Gillian Hamilton, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers 615, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
  4. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
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    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  5. 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(03), pages 783-808, September.
  6. Chiara Pronzato, 2009. "An Examination of Paternal and Maternal Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling," CHILD Working Papers wp20_09, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  7. Dorothee Crayen & Joerg Baten, 2010. "New evidence and new methods to measure human capital inequality before and during the industrial revolution: France and the US in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 452-478, 05.
  8. Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Paul Sharp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824," Discussion Papers 11-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. J.Humphries & T. Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _066, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Schofield, R. S., 1973. "Dimensions of illiteracy, 1750-1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 437-454.
  11. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2010. "Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800," Working Papers 1013, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  14. Hadeishi, Hajime, 2003. "Economic Well-Being and Fertility in France: Nuits, 1744 1792," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 489-505, June.
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  17. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen & Joachim Voth, 2007. "Poor, hungry and ignorant: Numeracy and the impact of high food prices in industrializing Britain, 1780-1850," Economics Working Papers 1120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2011.
  18. A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, November.
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  20. Stephen Broadberry & Bruce Campbell & Alexander Klein & Mark Overton & Bas van Leeuwen, 2012. "British Economic Growth, 1270-1870: an output-based approach," Studies in Economics 1203, School of Economics, University of Kent.
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