Landed Elites and Education Provision in England: Evidence from School Boards, 1870-99

Marc Goñi (University of Vienna)

Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between landownership concentration and state-sponsored education in late-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 and human capital. To establish causality, I exploit variation in soil texture and the redistribution of land after the Norman conquest. I 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 weaker for education demand, suggesting that landownership affects state education through the political process.

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