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Colonial Institutions, Trade Shocks, and the Diffusion of Elementary Education in Brazil, 1889–1930

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2014

Aldo Musacchio
Affiliation:
Associate Professor Harvard Business School, and Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Harvard University, Morgan Hall 279, Boston, MA 02163. E-mail: amusacchio@hbs.edu.
André Martínez Fritscher
Affiliation:
Economist, Central Bank of Mexico, Research Department, Avenida 5 de Mayo 2, Colonia Centro, Código postal 06059, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Distrito Federal, México. E-mail: amartinez@banxico.org.mx.
Martina Viarengo
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Department of Economics, Maison de la Paix - Chemin Eugène Rigot 2, 1202 Geneva - Switzerland Faculty Associate at the Center for International Development, Harvard University Center for International Development at Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail: martina.viarengo@graduateinstitute.ch; Martina_Viarengo@hks.harvard.edu.

Abstract

We study the initial expansion of public schooling across Brazilian states (1889–1930) and develop an alternative explanation of how colonial institutions may affect the provision of public goods in the long run. We find that states that exported commodities undergoing international booms, between 1889 and 1930, had significantly larger export tax revenues and could spend more on education, while other states lagged behind. Yet, such positive effect of commodity booms on education expenditures was muted in states that either had more slaves before abolition or cultivated cotton during colonial times.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 2014 

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Footnotes

We want to thank the comments and helpful suggestions of Paul Rhode and the anonymous referees of this JOURNAL. We benefited from comments on earlier drafts by Ran Abramitsky, Dan Bogart, Carlos Capistrán, Eric Chaney, Karen Clay, Rafel Di Tella, Catherine Duggan, Stan Engerman, Felipe T. Fernandes, Cláudio Ferraz, Mary Hansen, Eric Hilt, Richard Hornbeck, Lakshmi Iyer, Joseph L. Love, Ricardo Madeira, Robert Margo, Noel Maurer, João Manuel P. de Mello, David Moss, Steve Nafziger, Joana Naritomi, Tom Nicholas, Nathan Nunn, Ian Read, Eustáquio Reis, Rodrigo Soares, Peter Temin, John Wallis, Jeff Williamson, and participants in seminars at Harvard University, Harvard Business School, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, USP and Insper in Sao Paulo, PUC and FGV in Rio de Janeiro, and CIDE and Banco de México in Mexico City. We also thank commentators and participants at the ASSA, EHA, Cliometrics, and CLADE-II conferences. Research assistance for this article was ably provided by Jenna Bernhardson, Diego Galeano, and Carlos L. Góes. The usual caveats apply.

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