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Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density and the Transition to Modern Growth

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  • Raouf, BOUCEKKINE
  • David, DE LA CROIX
  • Dominique, PEETERS

Abstract

The transition from economic stagnation to sustained growth is often modelled thanks to “population-induced” productivity improvements, which are assumed rather than derived from primary assumptions. In this paper the effect of population on productivity is derived from optimal behavior. More precisely, both the number and location of education facilities are chosen optimally by municipalities. Individuals determine their education investment depending on the distance to the nearest school, and also on technical progress and longevity. In this setting, higher population density enables the set-up costs of additional schools to be covered, opening the possibility to reach higher educational levels. Using conterfactual experiments we find that one third of the rise in literacy can be directly attributed to the effect of density, while one sixth is linked to higher longevity and one half to technical progress. Moreover, the effect of population density in the model is consistent with the available evidence from England, where it is shown that schools were established at a high rate over the period 1540-1620.

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf, BOUCEKKINE & David, DE LA CROIX & Dominique, PEETERS, 2005. "Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density and the Transition to Modern Growth," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005023, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvec:2005023
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    Keywords

    Human Capital; Population Density; Education Investment; School Location; Technical Progress;

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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