Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution

56 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009  

Sascha O. Becker

University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Erik Hornung

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ludger Woessmann

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

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Abstract

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.

Keywords: human capital, industrialization, Prussian economic history

JEL Classification: N13, N33, I20, O14

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Hornung, Erik and Woessmann, Ludger, Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4556. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1506308

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://sobecker.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Munich
Germany

Erik Hornung

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics ( email )

Universit├Ątsstra├če 30
Bayreuth, 95447
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Munich
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

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