DP16976 Whither education? The long shadow of pre-unification school systems into Italy's Liberal Age (1861-1911)

Author(s): Monica Bozzano, Gabriele Cappelli, Michelangelo Vasta
Publication Date: January 2022
Date Revised: January 2022
Keyword(s): economic history, Education, institutions, Italy, legacy, Literacy, Mass schooling
JEL(s): E02, H75, I25, N33
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16976

This paper contributes to the literature on the determinants of the expansion of mass schooling and the long-term legacy of educational institutions. Based on a new provincial-level dataset for Italy in the period 1861-1911, we argue that different models of schooling provision adopted by the different pre-unification polities influenced primary-education organization across macro-regions up to WWI. As a result, school access and the capability to generate literacy given current rates of enrolment differed substantially, with the Northern regions aiming to increase schooling for all, while the Centre and the South implemented a more elitist model.