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Education Performance: Was It All Determined 100 Years Ago? Evidence From São Paulo, Brazil

  • de Carvalho Filho, Irineu
  • Colistete, Renato P.

This paper deals with institutional persistence in long-term economic development. We investigate the historical record of education in one of the fastest growing and most unequal societies in the twentieth century – the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Based on historical data from an agricultural census and education statistics, we assess the role played by factors such as land concentration, immigration and type of economic activity in determining supply and demand of education during the early twentieth century, and to what degree these factors help explain current educational performance and income levels. We find a positive and enduring effect of the presence of foreign-born immigrants on the supply of public instruction, as well as a negative effect of land concentration. Immigrant farm-laborers established their own community schools, and pressured for public funding for those schools or for public schools. The effects of early adoption of public instruction can be detected more than one hundred years later in the form of better test scores and higher income per capita. These results are suggestive of an additional mechanism generating inequality across regions: the places that received immigration from countries with an established public education system benefited from an earlier adoption of the revolutionary idea of public education.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/24494/1/MPRA_paper_24494.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 24494.

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Date of creation: 18 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24494
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  1. Naritomi, Joana & Soares, Rodrigo R. & Assunção, Juliano J., 2012. "Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 393-422, June.
  2. Francisco Gallego, 2008. "Historical Origins of Schooling: The Role of Democracy and Political Decentralization," Documentos de Trabajo 342, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  3. 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.
  4. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, March.
  5. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 0110002, EconWPA.
  6. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521529167 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Lindert, Peter H., 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 315-350, June.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & María Angélica Bautista & Pablo Querubín & James A. Robinson, 2007. "Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia," NBER Working Papers 13208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kruger, Diana I., 2007. "Coffee production effects on child labor and schooling in rural Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 448-463, March.
  13. Go, Sun & Lindert, Peter, 2010. "The Uneven Rise of American Public Schools to 1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 1-26, March.
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