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时间:2014-02-19    浏览量:918

Tomas CvrcekMiroslav Zajicek. 2013. School, what is it good for? Useful human capital and the history of public education in central Europe. Working Paper 19690 . National Bureau of Economic Research


Abstract: 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   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.


数据来源:The Habsburg Empire


Conclusions:The evidence reveals two important features of the Habsburg educational system. First, we find stronger support for the claim that economic development enabled a more extensive supply of educational facilities, perhaps through broadening of the tax base, than for the notion that economic development generated a strong individual demand for public education,such as through raising returns to primary education. Not that the Habsburg schools failed in imparting literacy across the board–the correlations in Figure 2 are  too strong for      such a claim. But the curriculum also included a lot of extra material that did not  generate useful human capital. Apparently, the Viennese government designed a flawed product, decreed that it be oversupplied and burdened local communities with paying for it. We have no estimate of how much dead weight loss this policy generated but we cannot find any positive effect of   this policy on economic development.

Second –and closely related, the reason why economic considerations were sidelined is to be found in the politics of schooling. Political voice  seems to have played a role Acco unts of Austrian political history   show unequivocally that education,      its extent,availability and language of instruction were highly politicized matters.     We  find       evidence that this nationalist politics   impacted educational     choices made on the       ground, even at the local  level.

Overall,       his adds up to a different picture to      that painted        regarding the       modern  rise of public education. While all the  elements of the usual story – the industrialization, the public provision of schools,    the political voice      of important pressure groups– are  present in the Austrian case, they combine in a way very different from      how, for example,      Go and Lindert (2007,2010) have  described the rise      of       American public schooling. Rather than education and human     capital accumulation being     among the drivers of economic growth, we see how economic     development       provides       the  resources for       the Habsburg Empire’s own    version of “culture       wars” whereby the school district elites –   far from withholding public resources from education – actively  subsidize that kind of       schooling which corresponds to their ethnic preferences. For those who lacked political voicein our      case, the non German       nationalitiesthe      road ahead did not pass first through enfranchisement to public education and eventually to economic development but exactly the other way: economic growth allowed them to catch up (at least in some respects) in matters educational  whicha generation later   (and outside the scope of our paper)led to their political selfassertion. And while this order      of causation does       not        in anyway refute the more traditional account, at least as it applies      to the United       States,for example,it highlights that the interplay of education,      politics and development can be much more varied.



总之,这在现代公共教育的兴起上添加了一幅不同的画卷。虽然通常故事中的所有元素—工业化、学校的公共供给、重要的施压集团在奥地利案例中都存在,它们却以一种非常不同于Go and Lindert(2007,2010)在美国公立学校的兴起中所描绘的方式结合。我们看到并不是教育和人力资本积累推动经济增长,而是经济增长为凭借学区精英进行“文化战争” 的哈布斯堡王朝提供资源—非但没有从教育中减少公共资源,反而积极资助符合他们民族偏好的学校教育。对于那些缺乏政治声音—在我们的例子中,也就是非德国国籍的民族—前方的道路并没有首先通过公共教育的解放再通过经济发展而是恰恰相反,经济增长使他们(至少在某些方面)追赶上教育问题,这导致他们在政治上的自我主张。虽然这一顺序的因果关系并不反驳传统观点,但至少,比如将其应用于美国时,它突出了教育、政治和经济增长之间的相互影响是可以更加多样化的。                                    

                                        By 杨帆)

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