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

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  • Franziska Tollnek
  • Joerg Baten

Abstract

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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  • Franziska Tollnek & Joerg Baten, 2012. "Farmer Families at the Heart of the Educational Revolution: Which Occupational Group Inherited Human Capital in the Early Modern Era?," CEH Discussion Papers 008, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:008
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Brian A'Hearn & Alexia Delfino & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2022. "Rethinking age heaping: a cautionary tale from nineteenth‐century Italy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(1), pages 111-137, February.
    3. Begoña Álvarez & Fernando Ramos Palencia, 2016. "The role of human capital in pre-industrial societies: Skills and earnings in eighteenth-century Castile (Spain)," Working Papers 16.03, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics, Quantitative Methods and Economic History.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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