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Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China

Author

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  • Latika Chaudhary
  • Aldo Musacchio
  • Steven Nafziger
  • Se Yan

Abstract

Our paper provides a comparative perspective on the development of public primary education in four of the largest developing economies circa 1910: Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). These four countries encompassed more than 50 percent of the world's population in 1910, but remarkably few of their citizens attended any school by the early 20th century. We present new, comparable data on school inputs and outputs for BRIC drawn from contemporary surveys and government documents. Recent studies emphasize the importance of political decentralization, and relatively broad political voice for the early spread of public primary education in developed economies. We identify the former and the lack of the latter to be important in the context of BRIC, but we also outline how other factors such as factor endowments, colonialism, serfdom, and, especially, the characteristics of the political and economic elite help explain the low achievement levels of these four countries and the incredible amount of heterogeneity within each of them.

Suggested Citation

  • Latika Chaudhary & Aldo Musacchio & Steven Nafziger & Se Yan, 2012. "Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China," NBER Working Papers 17852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17852
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    Cited by:

    1. Chankseliani, Maia, 2014. "Are we using Friedman's roadmap? A comparative analysis of stimuli of private school enrolments in post-Soviet countries," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 13-21.
    2. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2015. "Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries," Chapters,in: Handbook of International Development and Education, chapter 6, pages 85-130 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. repec:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:18-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Koumparoulis, Dimitrios Nikolaou, 2014. "BRICs versus Other Emerging Economies: The Case of India," MPRA Paper 54388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Paola Azar Dufrechou, 2018. "Electoral politics and the diffusion of primary schooling: evidence from Uruguay, 1914-1954," Working Papers wpdea1801, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    6. Bowe, Anica G., 2015. "The development of education indicators for measuring quality in the English-speaking Caribbean: How far have we come?," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 31-46.
    7. Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth, 2018. "Nation building: The role of central spending in education," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 18-39.
    8. Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth M., 2016. "The Cost of Decentralization: Linguistic Polarization and the Provision of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 11274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. C. Dannemann & Erkan Goeren, 2018. "The Educational Burden of ADHD: Evidence From Student Achievement Test Scores," Working Papers V-408-18, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2018.
    10. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "One size that didn’t fit all? Electoral franchise, fiscal capacity and the rise of mass schooling across Italy’s provinces, 1870–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 10(3), pages 311-343, September.
    11. Latika Chaudhary & Manuj Garg, 2015. "Does history matter? Colonial education investments in India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 937-961, August.
    12. Ehrl, Philipp & Monteiro Monasterio, Leonardo, 2016. "Historical trades, skills and agglomeration economies," MPRA Paper 69829, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. 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.
    14. Harrison, Mark & Markevich, Andrei, 2012. "Russia’s Home Front, 1914-1922: The Economy," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 74, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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