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Industrial activities and primary schooling in early nineteenth-century France

Abstract : This article investigates the relation between industrial activities and the expansion of primary instruction in early nineteenth-century France. To do so, I use a newly constituted database on the location and characteristics of primary schools at the level of municipalities. This database is extracted from the Guizot Survey conducted in 1833, before the implementation of the first national law making the opening of a school mandatory in any municipality more than 500 inhabitants. By using mineral deposits as an instrument, I first show that the presence of industrial activities and the level of industrial production in a given municipality were positively influencing the presence of primary schools. Second, I show that this was due to an income effect thanks to which municipalities were capable of attracting teachers and of more frequently paying them on a regular basis. Other economic factors, as the agricultural resources of districts, and geographical or demographical factors as population dispersion were also important in explaining the location of primary schools. Finally, I show that this came at a price in terms of children enrolment in schools. The same economic factors were contributing to a diversion of children from schools, either because of a relative impoverishment of workers or because of an increased opportunity cost of schooling.
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Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 29, 2018 - 12:28:50 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 3:28:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 6:05:01 AM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-01826346, version 1


Adrien Montalbo. Industrial activities and primary schooling in early nineteenth-century France. 2018. ⟨halshs-01826346v1⟩



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