Education and income of the states of the United States: 1840–2000

  • Chad Turner
  • Robert Tamura
  • Sean E. Mulholland
  • Scott Baier


This article introduces original annual average years of schooling measures for each state from 1840 to 2000. Our methodology results in state estimates similar to those reported in the United States Census from 2000 back to 1940 and national, turn of the century estimates strikingly close to those presented by Schultz (Schultz, T. (1961). In N. B. Henry (Ed.), Social forces influencing American education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.) and Fishlow (Fishlow, A. (1966). In H. Rosovsky (Ed.), Industrialization in two systems. John Wiley & Sons). To further determine the validity of our state schooling estimates, we first combine original data on real state per worker output with existing data to provide a more comprehensive series of real state output per worker from 1840 to 2000. We then estimate aggregate Mincerian earnings regressions and discover that the return to a year of schooling for the average individual in a state ranges from 11% to 15%. This range is robust to various time periods, various estimation methods, various assumptions about the endogeneity of schooling and is in line with the body of evidence from the labor literature.


State years of schooling State real output per worker 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chad Turner
    • 1
  • Robert Tamura
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sean E. Mulholland
    • 4
  • Scott Baier
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Nicholls State UniversityThibodauxUSA
  2. 2.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Atlanta Federal Reserve BankAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Mercer CollegeMaconUSA

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