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Colonial Institutions, Commodity Booms, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889-1930

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  • Aldo Musacchio
  • Andre Martinez
  • Martina Viarengo

Abstract

We explain how the decentralization of fiscal responsibility among Brazilian states between 1889 and 1930 promoted a unequal expansion in public schooling. We document how the variation in state export tax revenues, product of commodity booms, explains increases in expenditures on education, literacy, and schools per children. Yet we also find that such improvements did not take place in states that either had more slaves before abolition or cultivated cotton during colonial times. Beyond path-dependence, ours story emphasizes the interaction between colonial institutions and subsequent fiscal changes to explain radical changes in the ranking of states which persists until today.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldo Musacchio & Andre Martinez & Martina Viarengo, 2014. "Colonial Institutions, Commodity Booms, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889-1930," NBER Working Papers 20029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20029 Note: DAE
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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