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The Technological Origins of the High School Movement

  • Kim, Se-Um

This paper argues that the emergence of knowledge hierarchies in the modern U.S. firms since the late 19th century, expedited by huge progress in communication technology, played a significant role in the expansion of mass secondary education called the high school movement in the U.S. in the early 20th century. To analyze the causal connections among these historical events, the paper presents a dynamic model in which the complementarity between individual skills is crucial to production. Middle-skilled individuals could help increase the payoff to the high-skilled by supervising low-skilled production workers as middle managers in firms, and so some of potential top managers with high skill actively supported the expansion of mass education to the secondary level some time after a sophisticated form of production organizations had started to emerge. This theoretical explanation is consistent with the existing historical evidence in the literature.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 12087.

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Date of creation: 20 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12087
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  1. Lawrence F. Katz & Claudia Goldin, 2001. "The Legacy of U.S. Educational Leadership: Notes on Distribution and Economic Growth in the 20th Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 18-23, May.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
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  4. Galiani, Sebastian & Heymann, Daniel & Dabús, Carlos & Tohmé, Fernando, 2008. "On the emergence of public education in land-rich economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 434-446, June.
  5. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
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  7. Bourguignon, Francois & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "Oligarchy, democracy, inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 285-313, August.
  8. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Why Does Democracy Need Education?," NBER Working Papers 12128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," NBER Working Papers 11458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
  11. Mark Gradstein, 2008. "Institutional Traps And Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1043-1066, 08.
  12. Gilat Levy, 2005. "The Politics of Public Provision of Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1507-1534, November.
  13. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  14. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Dynastic Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 971-996, 01.
  15. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Das Human Kapital," CEPR Discussion Papers 2701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Pol Antras & Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organizing Offshoring: Middle Managers and Communication Costs," 2006 Meeting Papers 133, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Daron Acemoglu, 2007. "Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 47, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  19. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "The Knowledge Economy at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Emergence of Hierarchies," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 396-403, 04-05.
  20. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 44-49, May.
  21. Goldin, Claudia, 2001. "The Human-Capital Century and American Leadership: Virtues of the Past," Scholarly Articles 2624681, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2005. "Credit Constraints, Competition, and Meritocracy," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 679-689, 04/05.
  23. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 2664307, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2000. "Education and Income in the Early Twentieth Century: Evidence from the Prairies," Scholarly Articles 2766688, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Philippe AGHION & Peter HOWITT, 1998. "On the Macroeconomic Effects of Major Technological Change," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 49-50, pages 53-75.
  26. Trajtenberg, M. & Bresnahan, T.F., 1992. "General Purpose Technologies: "Engines of Growth"," Papers 16-92, Tel Aviv.
  27. David, Paul A, 1990. "The Dynamo and the Computer: An Historical Perspective on the Modern Productivity Paradox," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 355-61, May.
  28. Kochar, Anjini, 2008. "Schooling, wages and profits: Negative pecuniary externalities from schooling and their consequences for schooling investments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 76-95, April.
  29. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S65-S94, December.
  30. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2007. "Knowledge hierarchies in the labor market," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 104-126, November.
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