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The Cost of Decentralization: Linguistic Polarization and the Provision of Education

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  • Cinnirella, Francesco
  • Schueler, Ruth M.

Abstract

In this paper we argue that different preferences in a decentralized system lead to under provision of public goods. We analyze the provision of public primary education in nineteenth-century Prussia which was characterized by a linguistically polarized society and a decentralized education system. Using unique county-level data on education spending we show that linguistic polarization has a negative impact on local spending. Instrumental variable estimates using distance to the eastern border suggest that the relationship can be causally interpreted. Exploiting a reform of education spending, we show that centralization increases the provision of primary education relatively more in linguistically polarized counties.

Suggested Citation

  • Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth M., 2016. "The Cost of Decentralization: Linguistic Polarization and the Provision of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 11274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11274
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2017. "Religious Tolerance as Engine of Innovation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6797, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. repec:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:18-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hao, Yu & Xue, Melanie Meng, 2017. "Friends from afar: The Taiping Rebellion, cultural proximity and primary schooling in the Lower Yangzi, 1850–1949," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 44-69.
    4. Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth, 2018. "Nation building: The role of central spending in education," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 18-39.
    5. repec:kap:jecgro:v:22:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9141-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1122-1145 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:1:p:136-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bukowski, Paweł, 2018. "How history matters for student performance: lessons from the Partitions of Poland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 90643, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Centralization; Decentralization; education; Polarization; Prussia; Public Goods;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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