DP11621 Nation Building: The Role of Central Spending in Education

Author(s): Francesco Cinnirella, Ruth M. Schueler
Publication Date: November 2016
Keyword(s): indoctrination, Nation building, primary education, Prussian Economic History
JEL(s): H72, I28, N33, N43
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11621

It is generally argued that, in the context of Imperial Germany, public primary education was used to form "loyal citizen" and to build a nation. In this paper we analyze to what extent central spending on primary education affected participation at general elections and votes for pro-nationalist parties. We combine census data on the sources of school funding with federal election data at the level of 199 constituencies in five-year intervals from 1886 to 1911. Panel estimates of models with constituency and time-fixed effects show that an increase in the share of central spending is positively related to the vote share of pro-nationalist parties and voter turnout. Results from models with lagged central spending by category of expenditure are consistent with the role of indoctrination of public primary education.