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Human Capital and Social Capital: The Rise of Secondary Schooling in America, 1910 to 1940

Author

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  • Claudia Goldin
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Abstract

The United States led all other nations in the development of universal and publicly-funded secondary school education and much of the growth occurred from 1910 to 1940. The focus here is on the reasons for the high school movement' in American generally and why it occurred so early and swiftly in America's heartland - a region we dub the 'education belt.' At the center of this belt' was the state of Iowa and we use information from the unique 1915 Iowa State Census to explore the factors, at both the county and individual levels, that propelled states like Iowa to embrace secondary school education very early. Iowa's small towns, as well as those across the nation, were the loci of the high school movement. In an analysis at the national level, we find that greater homogeneity of income or wealth, a higher level of wealth, greater community stability, and more ethnic and religious homogeneity fostered high school expansion from 1910 to 1930. The pecuniary returns to secondary school education were high - on the order of 12 percent per year in 1914 - providing substantial private incentives for high school attendance. State-level measures of social capital today are strongly correlated with economic and schooling variables from 1900 to 1930. The social capital assembled locally in the early part of the century, which apparently fueled part of the high school movement, continues to contribute to human capital formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "Human Capital and Social Capital: The Rise of Secondary Schooling in America, 1910 to 1940," NBER Working Papers 6439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6439
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    Cited by:

    1. Leah Platt Boustan & Fernando Ferreira & Hernan Winkler & Eric Zolt, 2010. "Income Inequality and Local Government in the United States, 1970-2000," NBER Working Papers 16299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    3. Antonio Ciccone & Federico Cingano & Piero Cipollone, 2004. "The Private and Social Return to Schooling in Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 63(3-4), pages 413-444, December.
    4. Arturo Galindo & Alberto Chong & César Calderón, 2001. "Structure and Development of Financial Institutions and Links with Trust: Cross-Country Evidence," Research Department Publications 4251, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2009. "A Century of Work and Leisure," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 189-224, July.
    7. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2010. "Civic Capital as the Missing Link," NBER Working Papers 15845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2007. "Social Capital as Good Culture," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/57, European University Institute.
    9. repec:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0149-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002. "Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
    11. Berardino Cesi, 2010. "Local Public Education and Childless Voting: The Arising of an “Ends with the Middle” Coalition," The IUP Journal of Public Finance, IUP Publications, vol. 0(1 & 2), pages 74-102, February .
    12. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Kovacs, Kent F., 2005. "Amount and Spatial Distribution of Public Open Space to Maximize the Net Benefits from Urban Recreation," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19206, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    14. Jonathan Skinner & Douglas Staiger, 2007. "Technology Adoption from Hybrid Corn to Beta-Blockers," NBER Chapters,in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 545-570 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2018. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in twentieth-century productivity growth," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(1), pages 61-97, January.
    16. Miranowski, John A. & Monchuk, Daniel C. & Wohlgemuth, Darin, 2001. "Rural Growth In U.S. Heartland," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20655, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    17. Miles S. Kimball & Colter M. Mitchell & Arland D. Thornton & Linda C. Young-Demarco, 2009. "Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 15182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    19. Arturo Galindo & Alberto Chong & César Calderón, 2001. "Estructura y desarrollo de instituciones financieras y su relación con la confianza: elementos de juicio de varios países," Research Department Publications 4252, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    20. Guido de Blasio & Alberto Dalmazzo & Monica Andini, 2013. "The Size of Political Jurisdictions: Evidence from a Fascist Consolidation," ERSA conference papers ersa13p276, European Regional Science Association.
    21. Su, Xuejuan, 2006. "Endogenous determination of public budget allocation across education stages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 438-456, December.
    22. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2008. "Mass Secondary Schooling and the State: The Role of State Compulsion in the High School Movement," NBER Chapters,in: Understanding Long-Run Economic Growth: Geography, Institutions, and the Knowledge Economy, pages 275-310 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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