Education and Socioeconomic Development During the Industrialization

  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Ludger WoessmannEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter discusses recent advances in our empirical knowledge of how education affected socioeconomic development during the industrialization. While early work attributed little role to formal education at the onset of the British Industrial Revolution, recent evidence is more positive. There is evidence, from Prussia and other European countries, that education played an important role in the first and second phases of industrialization in follower countries. While basic education seems to have been particularly relevant for the diffusion of the new industrial technologies, there is evidence that upper-tail human capital also played a role. In addition, the education of the population can account for major parts of the difference in Protestant and Catholic economic history. Beyond economic development, education also affected other societal developments during the industrialization. Educational expansion – in particular of advanced secondary schools – appears to have been an important force behind the decade-long process of secularization during the second phase of industrialization. In addition, the fertility decline during the demographic transition is closely related to increased education both in the generation of parents and of children, the latter indicating a significant trade-off between the quantity and quality of children.


Education Industrialization Economic development Economic history Nineteenth century Human capital Schooling Protestantism Secularization Demographic transition Fertility 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.CAGECoventryUK
  3. 3.CEPRLondonUK
  4. 4.CESifoMunichGermany
  5. 5.IZABonnGermany
  6. 6.ifoMunichGermany
  7. 7.ROAMaastrichtNetherlands
  8. 8.University of Munich and ifo InstituteMunichGermany

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