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Education and economic development. The influence of primary schooling on municipalities in nineteenth-century France

Adrien Montalbo
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Adrien Montalbo: PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: The impact of education on growth or individual earnings has been vastly studied in economics. However, much remains to know about this association before the mid-20th century. In this article, I investigate the effect of primary schooling on the economic devel- opment of French municipalities during the 19th century and up to World War I. Before the Guizot Law of 1833, no national legislation on primary schooling existed in France. Therefore, I evaluate if the municipalities with higher educational achievements before this law grew more than their counterparts during the following years. To do so, I exploit first the fact that the Guizot Law forced municipalities over 500 inhabitants to open and fund a primary school for boys. I implement a regression discontinuity around this cut-off on municipalities with no primary school in 1833. Second, I instrument educational achieve- ment, namely enrolment rates and schooling years, by the proximity of municipalities to printing presses established before 1500. Each method returns a positive impact of edu- cation on development. Education quality also mattered in this perspective. A matching estimation on municipalities with a school in 1833 indicates a positive impact of better teaching conditions provided by public grants on the subsequent growth of municipalities. Primary schooling is therefore an important factor which favoured the development of French municipalities during the century of industrialisation and modernisation.

Keywords: Primary instruction; Economic development; Nineteenth-century France (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gro, nep-his and nep-ure
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