Convergence and Divergence of Numeracy: The Development of Age Heaping in Latin America from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012

See all articles by Kerstin Manzel

Kerstin Manzel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Joerg Baten

University of Tuebingen

Yvonne Stolz

University of Tuebingen

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

This study makes the first systematic attempt to trace the long‐term development of Latin American numeracy, a phenomenon of great interest to economic historians in that it serves as an accurate gauge of human capital development. In order to approximate basic numeracy we use age‐heaping techniques. We find that Latin America was on a path of convergence with western Europe during the early eighteenth century. During the early nineteenth century, not only did numeracy development stagnate in some Latin American countries but differences among some of them actually increased. While numeracy rates in Argentina, Uruguay, and to a lesser extent Brazil, along with Europe, underwent a significant increase in the late nineteenth century, they declined in Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. By performing a regression analysis, we find that, even when we control for investment in education, mass immigration contributed to human capital formation.

Suggested Citation

Manzel, Kerstin and Baten, Joerg and Stolz, Yvonne, Convergence and Divergence of Numeracy: The Development of Age Heaping in Latin America from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (August 2012). The Economic History Review, Vol. 65, Issue 3, pp. 932-960, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2098278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2011.00605.x

Kerstin Manzel (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Joerg Baten

University of Tuebingen ( email )

Wilhelmstr. 19
72074 Tuebingen, Baden Wuerttemberg 72074
Germany

Yvonne Stolz

University of Tuebingen ( email )

Wilhelmstr. 19
72074 Tuebingen, Baden Wuerttemberg 72074
Germany

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