Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education
52 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2011
Date Written: September 30, 2011
This paper studies the effect of landownership concentration on school enrollment for nineteenth-century Prussia. Prussia is an interesting laboratory given its decentralized educational system and the presence of heterogeneous agricultural institutions. We find that landownership concentration, a proxy for the institution of serf labor, has a negative effect on schooling. This effect diminishes substantially in the second half of the century. Causality of this relationship is confirmed by introducing soil-texture to identify exogenous farm size variation. Panel estimates further rule out unobserved heterogeneity. We argue that serfdom hampered peasants’ demand for education whereas the successive emancipation triggered a demand thereof.
Keywords: land concentration, institutions, serfdom, education, Prussian economic history
JEL Classification: O430, Q150, I250, N330
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