DP14013 Elite Violence and Elite Numeracy in Europe from 500 to 1900 CE: A Co-Evolution?

Author(s): Jörg Baten, Thomas Keywood
Publication Date: September 2019
Keyword(s): Early Modern Period, elite human capital, elite violence, Europe, Great Divergence, middle ages
JEL(s): N00, N13, N33
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14013

We develop a new indicator for elite numeracy in order to investigate trends in European elite numeracy since the 6th century CE and describe its co-evolution with elite violence over this period. During the early medieval period, Western Europe had no advantage over the east, but the development of relative violence levels changed this. After implementing an instrumental variable strategy and a battery of robustness tests, we find a substantial relationship and conclude that violence had a detrimental impact on human capital formation. The drastic increase in human capital since the High Middle Ages was at least partially due to declining violence.