Catch Me If You Can: Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution

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IZA Research Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 10.03.2009, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Ludger Woessmann (University of Munich)


Existing evidence, mostly focused on British textile and metal industries, tends to reject any important role of education in the Industrial Revolution. We provide new evidence from Prussia, which received the new technologies exogenously after early-19th-Century institutional reforms, based on a unique school-enrollment and factory-employment database linking 334 counties between 1816, 1849, and 1882. We identify the effect of education on industrialization by instrumenting industrialization-time education with pre-industrial education. We find that education had a significant effect on industrialization outside textiles in both phases of the Industrial Revolution in Prussia. The findings prove robust to extensive controls for pre-industrial development.

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