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Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution

Author

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  • Becker, Sascha O.

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Hornung, Erik

    () (University of Cologne)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

Existing evidence, mostly from British textile industries, rejects the importance of formal education for the Industrial Revolution. We provide new evidence from Prussia, a technological follower, where early-19th-century institutional reforms created the conditions to adopt the exogenously emerging new technologies. Our unique school-enrollment and factory-employment database links 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Controlling extensively for pre-industrial development, we use pre-industrial education as an instrument to identify variation in later education that is exogenous to industrialization itself. We find that basic education significantly accelerated non-textile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Hornung, Erik & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution," IZA Discussion Papers 4556, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4556
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    Cited by:

    1. Ljubica Nedelkoska & Simon Wiederhold, 2010. "Technology, outsourcing, and the demand for heterogeneous labor: Exploring the industry dimension," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-052, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 92-126, July.
    3. Erik Hornung, 2012. "Human Capital, Technology Diffusion, and Economic Growth - Evidence from Prussian Census Data," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 46, March.
    4. Chaudhary, Latika & Musacchio, Aldo & Nafziger, Steven & Yan, Se, 2012. "Big BRICs, weak foundations: The beginning of public elementary education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 221-240.
    5. Corneo Giacomo, 2011. "Stakeholding as a New Development Strategy for Saudi Arabia," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, May.
    6. Ralf Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Working Papers 16993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Tomas Cvrcek & Miroslav Zajicek, 2013. "School, what is it good for? Useful Human Capital and the History of Public Education in Central Europe," NBER Working Papers 19690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ralf R. Meisenzahl & Joel Mokyr, 2011. "The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 443-479 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy's regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861–1936," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-65.
    10. Jeff Chan, 2014. "The long-run impact of the power loom: evidence from 19th century Prussia," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 1776-1791.
    11. Irina Rosa España Eljaiek & Fabio Sánchez Torres, 2010. "Industrialización regional, café y capital humano en la primera mitad del siglo XX en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 007723, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prussian economic history; industrialization; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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