NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

School, what is it good for? Useful Human Capital and the History of Public Education in Central Europe

Tomas Cvrcek, Miroslav Zajicek

NBER Working Paper No. 19690
Issued in December 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   ED

The rise of education has featured prominently in the debate on the sources of modern long-term economic growth. Existing accounts stress the positive role of public education and the importance of political support for its provision. We argue that such an explanation for the spread of schooling is probably a poor fit for many nations’ schooling histories and provide an example, using detailed data on schooling supply from the Habsburg Empire. We show that while economic development made schooling more affordable and widespread, the politics of demand for schools was not motivated by expectations of economic development but by the ongoing conflict between nationalities within the Empire. We find that public schools offered practically zero return education on the margin, yet they did enjoy significant political and financial support from local political elites, if they taught in the “right” language of instruction. Our results suggest that, for some countries at least, the main link, historically, went from economic development to public schooling, not the other way round.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19690

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hanushek, Schwerdt, Wiederhold, and Woessmann w19762 Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC
Stock and Yogo t0284 Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression
Stephens and Yang w19369 Compulsory Education and the Benefits of Schooling
Heckman and Kautz w19656 Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition
Acemoglu, Naidu, Restrepo, and Robinson w19746 Democracy, Redistribution and Inequality
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us