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Public goods institutions, human capital, and growth: evidence from German history

Jeremiah E. Dittmar and Ralf R. Meisenzahl

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: What are the origins and consequences of the state as a provider of public goods? We study public goods provision established through new laws in German cities during the 1500s. Cities that adopted the laws subsequently began to differentially produce and attract human capital and to grow faster. Legal change occurred where ideological competition introduced by the Protestant Reformation interacted with local politics. We study plagues that shifted local politics in a narrow period as sources of exogenous variation in public goods institutions, and find support for a causal interpretation of the relationship between legal change, human capital, and growth.

Keywords: institutions; political economy; public goods; education; human capital; growth; state capacity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I2 N13 O11 O4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-his and nep-ure
Date: 2020-01-01
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Published in Review of Economic Studies, 1, January, 2020. ISSN: 0034-6527

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