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Farmer Families at the Heart of the Educational Revolution: Which Occupational Group Inherited Human Capital in the Early Modern Era?

  • Franziska Tollnek


    (University of Tuebingen)

  • Joerg Baten


    (University of Tuebingen and CESifo)

In this paper, we assess the inheritance of human capital in the early modern period with a comprehensive dataset covering eight countries in Europe and Latin America. We focus on the within-household process of human capital formation. Gregory Clark suggested that the wealthy and ‘capitalist’ groups of society provided their offspring with favorable skills. We confirm this finding partially, but there is another large group that reproduces successfully: farmers. By applying age-heaping-based techniques to a dataset of more than 322,000 observations, we argue that farmers contributed significantly to the formation of human capital and, consequently, to modern economic growth.

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Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0033.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0033
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  1. A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, November.
  2. Clark, Gregory & Hamilton, Gillian, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 707-736, September.
  3. Schofield, R. S., 1973. "Dimensions of illiteracy, 1750-1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 437-454.
  4. Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Paul Sharp & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824," Discussion Papers 11-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Jane Humphries & Tim Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the Standard of Living in Early Nineteenth-Century England and Wales," Economics Series Working Papers 2007-W66, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Stephen Broadberry & Bruce Campbell & Alexander Klein & Mark Overton & Bas van Leeuwen, 2012. "British Economic Growth, 1270-1870: an output-based approach," Studies in Economics 1203, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  7. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  8. Dorothee Crayen & Joerg Baten, 2010. "New evidence and new methods to measure human capital inequality before and during the industrial revolution: France and the US in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 452-478, 05.
  9. Broadberry,Stephen & O'Rourke,Kevin H., 2010. "The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521882033.
  10. A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Clark, Gregory & Cummins, Neil, 2010. "Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800," MPRA Paper 25465, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Duplessis,Robert S., 1997. "Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521397735.
  13. Hadeishi, Hajime, 2003. "Economic Well-Being and Fertility in France: Nuits, 1744 1792," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 489-505, June.
  14. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen & Joachim Voth, 2007. "Poor, hungry and ignorant: Numeracy and the impact of high food prices in industrializing Britain, 1780-1850," Economics Working Papers 1120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2011.
  15. Duplessis,Robert S., 1997. "Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521394659.
  16. Wallace E. Huffman, 1974. "Decision Making: The Role of Education," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 56(1), pages 85-97.
  17. Chiara Pronzato, 2012. "An examination of paternal and maternal intergenerational transmission of schooling," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 591-608, January.
  18. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
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