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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:12087
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  1. repec:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
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  4. 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.
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  10. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
  15. Oded Galor & Omar Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_001, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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  20. Su, Xuejuan, 2006. "Endogenous determination of public budget allocation across education stages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 438-456, December.
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  25. 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.
  26. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410003, EconWPA.
  27. Gilat Levy, 2005. "The politics of public provision of education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 940, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  29. Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-44, 03.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
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