175/2013 Francesco Cinnirella and Erik Hornung
This paper studies the effect of landownership concentration on school enrolment for nineteenth century Prussia. Prussia is an interesting laboratory given its decentralized educational system and the presence of heterogeneous agricultural institutions. We find that landownership concentration, a proxy for the institution of serfdom, has a negative effect on schooling. This effect diminishes substantially towards the end of the century. Causality of this relationship is confirmed by introducing soil texture to identify exogenous farm-size variation. Panel estimates further rule out unobserved heterogeneity. We present several robustness checks which shed some light on possible mechanisms.
Journal of Development Economics