Working Paper BETA #2022-02

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Title : A Cliometric Reading of the Development of Primary Education in France in the Nineteenth Century

Author(s) : Claude Diebolt, Magali Jaoul-Grammare, Faustine Perrin

Abstract : The objective of this article is to study the links between the financing of primary education, schooling and economic growth in France in the nineteenth century. To do so, we use information on the financing allocated by the state, the departments, the municipalities, and households over the period 1820–1913. Our analysis is in two stages. First, we analyse the evolution of these different types of financing over time, relying on the outliers’ methodology to detect the existence of possible breaks in the series. Next, we study the causal relationships between the different types of financing, the number of children enrolled in primary education and the gross domestic product. Over the period studied, our results confirm that mass schooling is first driven by political will, after which it can be funded by increasing wealth in the economy.

Key-words : Primary education; Financing; Nineteenth century; France

JEL Classification : H52; I24; N33