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Marc Goni, University of Vienna Print
Tuesday, 12 February 2019, 14:00 - 15:15

Marc Goni, University of Vienna

Landed Elites and Education Provision in England: Evidence from School Boards, 1871-1899.

Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between landownership concentration and human capital in nineteenth-century England. Using newly compiled data on a wide range of education measures for 40 counties and 1,387 local School Boards, I show a negative association between land inequality, state-sponsored education, and human capital accumulation. To establish causality, I exploit exogenous variation in the location of great estates coming from geographical differences in soil texture and from the redistribution of land after the Norman conquest of 1066. In doing so, I document a strong persistence in inequality over eight centuries. Next, I show that the estimated effects are stronger where landlords had political power and that, where landownership was concentrated, individuals’ demand for education also responded to state-education funding. This implies that land inequality distorted human capital because of the political opposition of landed elites to education provision and not because of economic inequality or the lack of private demand for education.

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