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Inequality and Schooling Responses to Globalization Forces: Lessons from History

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

In the first global century before 1914, trade and especially migration had profound effects on both low-wage, labor abundant Europe and the high-wage, labor scarce New World. Those global forces contributed to a reduction in unskilled labor scarcity in the New World and to a rise in unskilled labor scarcity in Europe. Thus, it contributed to rising inequality in overseas countries, like the United States, and falling inequality in most of Europe. Falling unskilled labor scarcity and rising skill scarcity contributed to the high school revolution in the US. Rising unskilled scarcity also contributed to the primary schooling and literacy revolution in Europe. Under what conditions would we expect the same responses to globalization in today’s world? This paper argues that modern debates about inequality and schooling responses to globalization should pay more attention to history.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2006. "Inequality and Schooling Responses to Globalization Forces: Lessons from History," NBER Working Papers 12553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12553 Note: DAE ED LS POL ITI
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1993. "Land, labor and the wage-rental ratio : factor price convergence in the late nineteenth century," Working Papers 199311, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    4. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1890 to 1921," NBER Chapters,in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Anderson, Edward, 2001. "Globalisation and wage inequalities, 1870 1970," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 91-118, April.
    6. Collins, Wiiliam J., 1997. "When the Tide Turned: Immigration and the Delay of the Great Black Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 607-632, September.
    7. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
    8. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Betr N, Concha & Pons, Maria A., 2004. "Skilled and unskilled wage differentials and economic integration, 1870 1930," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 29-60, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter H. Lindert, 2009. "Revealing Failures in the History of School Finance," NBER Working Papers 15491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Emiliana Vegas & Jenny Petrow, 2008. "Raising Student Learning in Latin America : The Challenge for the Twenty-First Century," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6802.
    3. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Vanishing Third World Emigrants?," NBER Working Papers 14785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:idb:idbbks:355 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Emiliana Vegas & Jenny Petrow, 2008. "Raising Student Learning in Latin America: The Challenge for the 21st Century," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59738, February.
    6. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise in American Inequality: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 6817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Kevin A. Bryan & Leonardo Martinez, 2008. "On the evolution of income inequality in the United States," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 97-120.
    8. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 23-47.
    9. Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2010. "American education in the age of mass migrations 1870–1930," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 4(2), pages 113-139, June.
    10. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 23-47.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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