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Geography is not Destiny. Geography, Institutions and Literacy in England, 1837-1863

Author

Listed:
  • Gregory Clark

    (University of California, Davis)

  • Rowena Gray

    (University of Essex)

Abstract

Geography made rural society in the south-east of England unequal. Economies of scale in grain growing created a farmer elite and many landless labourers. In the pastoral north-west, in contrast, family farms dominated, with few hired labourers and modest income disparities. Engerman and Sokoloff (2012) argue that such differences in social structure between large plantations in the southern Americas, and family farming in the north, explain the rise of schooling in the north, and its absence in the south. We show, however, that rural literacy across England 1810-45 was not determined by geographically driven inequality. There were substantial differences in literacy by region, but driven by culture not geography. Geography is not destiny.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Clark & Rowena Gray, 2012. "Geography is not Destiny. Geography, Institutions and Literacy in England, 1837-1863," Working Papers 0015, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0015
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    File URL: http://ehes.org/EHES_No15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Ezcurra, Roberto & Zuazu, Izaskun, 2019. "Political equality and quality of government," MPRA Paper 96476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Boberg-Fazlic, Nina & Lampe, Markus & Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo & Sharp, Paul, 2020. "Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895," CEPR Discussion Papers 14616, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Kelly, Morgan & Mokyr, Joel & Grada, Cormac O, 2015. "Roots of the Industrial Revolution," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 248, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. Joerg Baten & Ralph Hippe, 2018. "Geography, land inequality and regional numeracy in Europe in historical perspective," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 79-109, March.
    5. Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, 2014. "Rethinking spatial inequalities in development: the primacy of politics and power relations," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series esid-029-14, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    6. Morgan Kelly & Joel Mokyr & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2015. "Roots of the Industrial Revolution," Working Papers 201524, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Comparative regional history; European education history; human capital development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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