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Public goods institutions, human capital, and growth: evidence from German history

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  • Dittmar, Jeremiah E.
  • Meisenzahl, Ralf R.

Abstract

What are the origins and consequences of the state as a provider of public goods? We study public goods provision established through new laws in German cities during the 1500s. Cities that adopted the laws subsequently began to differentially produce and attract human capital and to grow faster. Legal change occurred where ideological competition introduced by the Protestant Reformation interacted with local politics. We study plagues that shifted local politics in a narrow period as sources of exogenous variation in public goods institutions, and find support for a causal interpretation of the relationship between legal change, human capital, and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Dittmar, Jeremiah E. & Meisenzahl, Ralf R., 2020. "Public goods institutions, human capital, and growth: evidence from German history," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91195, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:91195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; political economy; public goods; education; human capital; growth; state capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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