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American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics: Vol. 3 No. 3 (July 2011)

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Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution

Article Citation

Becker, Sascha O., Erik Hornung, and Ludger Woessmann. 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3(3): 92-126.

DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.3.92

Abstract

Research increasingly stresses the role of human capital in modern economic development. Existing historical evidence -- mostly from British textile industries -- however, rejects that formal education was important for the Industrial Revolution. Our new evidence from technological follower Prussia uses a unique school enrollment and factory employment database linking 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Using pre-industrial education as instrument for later education and controlling extensively for pre-industrial development, we find that basic education is significantly associated with nontextile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution. Panel data models with county fixed effects confirm the results. (JEL I20, J24, N13, N33, N63)

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Authors

Becker, Sascha O. (U Warwick and Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich)
Hornung, Erik (Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich)
Woessmann, Ludger (U Munich and Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich)

JEL Classifications

I20: Education and Research Institutions: General
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
N13: Economic History: Macroeconomics; Growth and Fluctuations: Europe: Pre-1913
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
N63: Economic History: Manufacturing and Construction: Europe: Pre-1913

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