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Culture, Spatial Diffusion of Ideas and Their Long-Lasting Imprints: Evidence from Froebel's Kindergarten Movement

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  • Stefan Bauernschuster
  • Oliver Falck

Abstract

We document the spatial diffusion of Friedrich Froebel’s radical invention of kindergartens in 19th-century Germany. The first kindergarten was founded at Froebel’s birthplace. Early spatial diffusion can be explained by cultural proximity, measured by historical dialect similarity, to Froebel’s birthplace. This result is robust to the inclusion of higher order polynomials in geographic distance and similarity measures with respect to industry, geography or religion. Our findings suggest that a common cultural basis facilitates the spill-over of ideas. We further show that the contemporaneous spatial pattern of child care coverage is still correlated with cultural similarity to Froebel’s place of birth.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck, 2014. "Culture, Spatial Diffusion of Ideas and Their Long-Lasting Imprints: Evidence from Froebel's Kindergarten Movement," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 659, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    2. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
    3. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens & Lameli, Alfred, 2014. "Why are educated and risk-loving persons more mobile across regions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 56-69.
    4. Diego A. Comin & Mikhail Dmitriev & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2012. "The Spatial Diffusion of Technology," NBER Working Papers 18534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    6. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Schlotter, Martin, 2015. "Public child care and mothers' labor supply—Evidence from two quasi-experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-16.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:iza:izawol:journl:2018:n:414 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:187-211. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wyrwich, Michael, 2015. "Differences in female labor force participation in East and West Germany: Socialist legacy and pre-socialist tradition," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113083, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Culture; spatial diffusion; public child care;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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