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Can Autocracy Promote Literacy? Evidence from a Cultural Alignment Success Story

Author

Listed:
  • Nuno Palma

    (University of Manchester and CEPR)

  • Jaime Reis

    (ICS, University of Lisbon)

Abstract

Do countries with less democratic forms of government necessarily have lower literacy rates as a consequence? Using a random sample of 4,600+ individuals from military archives in Portugal, we show that 20-year old males were twice as likely to end up literate under an authoritarian regime than under a democratic one. Our results are robust to controlling for a host of factors including economic growth, the disease environment, and regional fixed-effects. We argue for a political economy and cultural explanation for the success of the authoritarian regime in promoting basic education.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Palma & Jaime Reis, 2018. "Can Autocracy Promote Literacy? Evidence from a Cultural Alignment Success Story," Working Papers 0127, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0127
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    File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_127.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anthropometrics; economic history of education; public schooling provison; political economy of development.;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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