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Early literacy achievements, population density and the transition to modern growth

  • BOUCEKKINE, Raouf
  • PEETERS, Dominique
  • de la CROIX, David

The transition from economic stagnation to sustained growth is often modelled with a "population-induced" technical progress which raised the return to human capital. In this literature the effect of population on productivity is assumed instead of being derived from more primary assumptions, which makes difficult to really assess the validity of the assumption. In this paper the effect of population on productivity is derived from optimal behavior. More precisely, both the number and location of education facilities is chosen optimally by municipalities. Individuals determine their education investment depending on the distance from the nearest school,and also on technical progress and longevity. In this set-up, higher population density makes it optimal to multiply the number of schools, opening the possibility to reach higher educational levels, so paving the way for the subsequent Industrial Revolution. This effect of population on the number of schools is consistent with the available evidence for England, which shows a high rate of school foundations over the period 1550-1650, when population density started to increase

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/JEEA.2007.5.1.183
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -1911.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-1911
Note: In : Journal of the European Economic Association, 5(1), 183-226, 2007
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