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Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution

  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Erik Hornung

    ()

  • Ludger Woessmann

Existing evidence, mostly from British textile industries, rejects the importance of formal education for the Industrial Revolution. We provide new evidence from Prussia, a technological follower, where early-19th-century institutional reforms created the conditions to adopt the exogenously emerging new technologies. Our unique school-enrollment and factory-employment database links 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Controlling extensively for pre-industrial development, we use pre-industrial education as an instrument to identify variation in later education that is exogenous to industrialization itself. We find that basic education significantly accelerated non-textile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2816.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2816
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