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Human capital at the beginnings of the 18th century Catalonia: age-heaping and numeracy in a changing economy

Èric Gómez-i-Aznar ()
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Èric Gómez-i-Aznar: University of Barcelona, Spain

No 1904, Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) from Asociación Española de Historia Económica

Abstract: This article examines numeracy levels in Catalonia in the first years of the 18th century. The age-heaping methodology is applied to a source, the municipal registers of inhabitants (padrons), which is less biased than other sources commonly used in the literature. Moreover, this source allows considering a large number of observations (over 6,700) and offers a substantial geographical coverage. The study of the Catalan case is particularly appealing due to the scarce information available for human capital in the 18th-century, a crucial period in the transition from a preindustrial to an industrial society. The results show high levels of arithmetic capacity at the beginning of the century, mainly in urban areas and among the middle classes, with values close to those of other parts of Western Europe. In addition, they point to changes in occupational groups as a potential key factor in the positive evolution of this capacity, possibly making it a good indicator of learning in the workplace. Partial indicators of wealth also appear to link numeracy levels with access to equal opportunities.

Keywords: Human Capital; Numeracy; Economic Growth; Inequality; Catalonia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 J24 N33 O10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
Date: 2019-02
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