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State Capacity, Schooling, and Fascist Education: Evidence from the Reclamation of the Pontine Marshes

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  • Belmonte, Alessandro

    (IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)

Abstract

States typically leverage on schooling to transmit desired values to the population. However, indoctrination through schooling typically requires teachers, school buildings and other capabilities. This paper documents that a low school capacity hampered the effort of the Italian fascist regime in transmitting a fascist ideology. I use evidence from a natural experiment of history—the reclamation of the Pontine Marshes. I argue that the reclamation acted as a shock in the regime’s school capacity. The design and construction of new rural villages gave the regime the opportunity to build schools on a large scale, improving the regime’s capability in transmitting a fascist ideology. This was hardly the case in the contiguous, pre-existent area, in the same province of Latina, where enrollment rates were low. I use this variation in schooling before WWII in an instrumental variable analysis. It shows that better educated areas in the province were more supporting of a post-fascist party in the elections freely held in 1948. Further analyses indicate that school capacity is a critical extensive margin of pedagogical reforms in shaping people values.

Suggested Citation

  • Belmonte, Alessandro, 2020. "State Capacity, Schooling, and Fascist Education: Evidence from the Reclamation of the Pontine Marshes," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 528, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:528
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/wp528.2020.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    state capacity; schooling; education; indoctrination; political values; voting; fascism. JEL Classification: H11; H75; I28; H13; P16; N44;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H13 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Economics of Eminent Domain; Expropriation; Nationalization
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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