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Geography, land inequality and regional numeracy in Europe in historical perspective

Joerg Baten () and Ralph Hippe ()

Journal of Economic Growth, 2018, vol. 23, issue 1, 79-109

Abstract: Abstract We find a relationship between geographic factors and numeracy in more than 300 regions of Europe around the year 1900. We argue that the distribution of land ownership is a plausible mechanism, given that it is related to the geographic factors under study. Consistent with theoretical studies in the Unified Growth Theory framework, we find that inequality in land distribution has a negative correlation with human capital formation as landowners did not have incentives to promote educational institutions or were not willing to pay the necessary taxes. This study explains a substantial share of the differences in development gradients between rural European regions in a historical perspective.

Keywords: Inequality; Land distribution; Human capital; Regional development; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N33 N93 O18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9151-1