Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The Academic Market and the Rise of Universities in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1000-1800)

Author(s): David de la Croix, Frédéric Docquier, Alice Fabre and Robert Stelter

Publication Date: March 2020

Keyword(s): agglomeration, Discrete choice model, Publications, Scholars, Universities and Upper-Tail Human Capital

Programme Area(s): Economic History and Macroeconomics and Growth

Abstract: We argue that market forces shaped the geographic distribution of upper-tail human capital across Europe during the Middle Ages, and contributed to bolstering universities at the dawn of the Humanistic and Scientific Revolutions. We build a unique database of thousands of scholars from university sources covering all of Europe, construct an index of their ability, and map the academic market in the medieval and early modern periods. We show that scholars tended to concentrate in the best universities (agglomeration), that better scholars were more sensitive to the quality of the university (positive sorting) and migrated over greater distances (positive selection). Agglomeration, selection and sorting patterns testify to a functioning academic market, made possible by political fragmentation and the use of a common language (Latin).

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Bibliographic Reference

de la Croix, D, Docquier, F, Fabre, A and Stelter, R. 2020. 'The Academic Market and the Rise of Universities in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1000-1800)'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.