Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution
Sascha O. Becker
University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation
Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research
IZA Discussion Paper No. 4556
Existing evidence, mostly from British textile industries, rejects the importance of formal education for the Industrial Revolution. We provide new evidence from Prussia, a technological follower, where early-19th-century institutional reforms created the conditions to adopt the exogenously emerging new technologies. Our unique school-enrollment and factory-employment database links 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Controlling extensively for pre-industrial development, we use pre-industrial education as an instrument to identify variation in later education that is exogenous to industrialization itself. We find that basic education significantly accelerated non-textile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: human capital, industrialization, Prussian economic history
JEL Classification: N13, N33, I20, O14
Date posted: November 17, 2009
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