IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cam/camdae/1655.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economically Relevant Human Capital or Multi-Purpose Consumption Good? Book Ownership in Pre-Modern Württemberg

Author

Listed:
  • Ogilvie, S.
  • Edwards, J.
  • Küpker, M.

Abstract

Human capital is widely regarded as central to economic growth but historical analyses find no causal link between standard literacy indicators and economic development. Book consumption has been proposed as an alternative indicator which has the advantage of measuring economically relevant human capital. We investigate this possibility using individual-level data from a German region between 1610 and 1900. Book ownership was widespread in this society from an early date. But multivariate analysis reveals that the relationship between book ownership and signatures, the standard literacy measure, differed substantially across time-periods, locations, and social groups. Book consumption was associated with other variables – time, gender, urbanization, migration status, and wealth – in ways inconsistent with its having conveyed the “useful knowledge” of industrial and commercial matters emphasized as the way books might have measured economically relevant human capital. Book consumption is interesting in its own right and casts light on important aspects of the preferences of pre-modern economic agents, but cannot serve as an indicator of human capital for historical analyses of economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Ogilvie, S. & Edwards, J. & Küpker, M., 2016. "Economically Relevant Human Capital or Multi-Purpose Consumption Good? Book Ownership in Pre-Modern Württemberg," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1655, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1655
    Note: sco2
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research-files/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe1655.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vidar Ringstad & Knut Løyland, 2006. "The Demand for Books Estimated by Means of Consumer Survey Data," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 30(2), pages 141-155, September.
    2. Valero, Anna & Van Reenen, John, 2019. "The economic impact of universities: Evidence from across the globe," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 53-67.
    3. 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).
    4. Ogilvie Sheilagh, 2004. "Women and Labour Markets in Early Modern Germany," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 45(2), pages 25-60, December.
    5. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Kãœpker, Markus & Maegraith, Janine, 2012. "Household Debt in Early Modern Germany: Evidence from Personal Inventories," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 134-167, March.
    6. Davide Cantoni & Jeremiah Dittmar & Noam Yuchtman, 2018. "Religious Competition and Reallocation: the Political Economy of Secularization in the Protestant Reformation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 133(4), pages 2037-2096.
    7. Federico Huneeus & Richard Rogerson, 2020. "Heterogeneous Paths of Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 27580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Uebele, Martin & Pfister, Ulrich & Riedel, Jana, 2012. "Real wages and the origins of modern economic growth in Germany, 16th to 19th centuries," VfS Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62076, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Claude Diebolt & Michael Haupert, 2018. "Cliometrics," Working Papers of BETA 2018-01, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    10. 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.
    11. Mara P. Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer, 2015. "Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 130(4), pages 1825-1883.
    12. Guinnane, Timothy W. & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2013. "A Two-Tiered Demographic System: "Insiders" and "outsiders" in Three Swabian Communities, 1558-1914," Center Discussion Papers 145142, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    13. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1977_32n1_0090 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Heilbrun,James & Gray,Charles M., 2001. "The Economics of Art and Culture," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521637121.
    15. 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.
    16. R. A. Houston, 1982. "The Development of Literacy: Northern England, 1640–1750," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 35(2), pages 199-216, May.
    17. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(2), pages 132-132.
    18. Cameron, A Colin & Windmeijer, Frank A G, 1996. "R-Squared Measures for Count Data Regression Models with Applications to Health-Care Utilization," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(2), pages 209-220, April.
    19. Sheilagh Ogilvie & Markus Küpker, 2015. "Human Capital Investment in a Late-Developing Economy: Evidence from Württemberg, c. 1600 – c. 1900," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1528, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    20. van der Beek, Karine & Mokyr, Joel & Sarid, Assaf, 2019. "The Wheels of Change: Technology Adoption, Millwrights, and Persistence in Britain’s Industrialization," CEPR Discussion Papers 14138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. 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.
    22. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
    23. Ralph Hippe & Joerg Baten, 2011. "Regional Inequality in Human Capital Formation in Europe, 1790 - 1880," Working Papers 11-07, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    24. Tomas Cvrcek & Miroslav Zajicek, 2019. "The rise of public schooling in nineteenth-century Imperial Austria: Who gained and who paid?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 13(3), pages 367-403, September.
    25. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1988_43n1_0212 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2003. "A Bitter Living: Women, Markets, and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198205548, Decembrie.
    27. Ogilvie, S. & Küpker, M. & Maegraith, J., 2009. "Community Characteristics and Demographic Development: Three Württemberg Communities, 1558 - 1914," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0910, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    28. Claude Diebolt & Michael Haupert (ed.), 2016. "Handbook of Cliometrics," Springer Books, Springer, edition 1, number 978-3-642-40406-1, June.
    29. Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2010. "Consumption, Social Capital, and the “Industrious Revolution†in Early Modern Germany," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 287-325, June.
    30. J. S. Cramer, 1958. "Ownership Elasticities of Durable Consumer Goods," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 25(2), pages 87-96.
    31. Lembke B., 1918. "√ a. p," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 111(1), pages 709-712, February.
    32. Oscar Gelderblom, 2013. "Cities of Commerce: The Institutional Foundations of International Trade in the Low Countries, 1250-1650," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10139.
    33. Nuvolari, Alessandro & A'Hearn, Brian & Delfino, Alexia, 2019. "Cognition, Culture, and State Capacity: Age-Heaping in XIX Century Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 14261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    34. Tilly, Richard H. & Kopsidis, Michael, 2020. "From Old Regime to Industrial State," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226725437, October.
    35. 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)

    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. Sheilagh Ogilvie & Markus Küpker, 2015. "Human Capital Investment in a Late-Developing Economy: Evidence from Württemberg, c. 1600 – c. 1900," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1528, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513, Elsevier.
    3. Boerner, Lars & Rubin, Jared & Severgnini, Battista, 2021. "A time to print, a time to reform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    4. 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).
    5. Pau Insa-Sánchez & Alfonso Díez-Minguela, 2023. "Starting high school? On the origins of secondary education in Spain, 1857–1901," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 17(2), pages 233-259, May.
    6. Baten, Jörg, 2019. "Elite Violence and Elite Numeracy in Europe from 500 to 1900 CE: A Co-Evolution?," CEPR Discussion Papers 14013, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Claude Diebolt & Roger Fouquet & Ralph Hippe, 2020. "Cliometrics and the Evolution of Human Capital," Post-Print hal-02920429, HAL.
    8. Binzel, Christine & Link, Andreas & Ramachandran, Rajesh, 2021. "Language, Knowledge, and Growth: Evidence from Early Modern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 15454, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. 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.
    10. Greif, Gavin, 2022. "Merchants, proto-firms, and the German industrialization: the commercial determinants of nineteenth century town growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 113346, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2017. "Religious Tolerance as Engine of Innovation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6797, CESifo.
    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. Link, Andreas, 2023. "The Fall of Constantinople and the Rise of the West," VfS Annual Conference 2023 (Regensburg): Growth and the "sociale Frage" 277619, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Thomas Keywood & Jörg Baten, 2021. "Elite violence and elite numeracy in Europe from 500 to 1900 CE: roots of the divergence," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 15(2), pages 319-389, May.
    17. Andreas Link, 2023. "The Fall of Constantinople and the Rise of the West," Working Papers 223, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    18. Raffaele Danna, 2019. "Figuring out: the spread of Hindu-Arabic numerals in the European tradition of practical mathematics (13th-16th centuries)," Working Papers 35, Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge, revised 03 Aug 2019.
    19. Beltrán Tapia, Francisco J. & Díez-Minguela, Alfonso & Martinez-Galarraga, Julio & Tirado-Fabregat, Daniel A., 2022. "Two Stories, One Fate: Age-Heaping And Literacy In Spain, 1877-1930," Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 405-438, December.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic history; human capital; education; growth; Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:cam:camdae:1655. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Jake Dyer (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/ .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.