Inequality of Opportunity in Access to Secondary Education in 19th Century Spain

Documento de Trabajo #2106

Título: Inequality of Opportunity in Access to Secondary Education in 19th Century Spain

Autor/es: Pau Insa-Sánchez

Abstract: This paper explores access to secondary education in 19th-century Spain. To do so, secondary education graduation age is proposed as an effective way of measuring the implicit cost of acquiring education in historical contexts such as this one. Using a novel historical source on the Spanish high school network for academic year 1877-1878, I find that students from small, isolated municipalities bore increasingly larger costs than those from urban areas. Specifically, the size of the municipality of origin exerts a larger negative effect on those students bearing more costs to study. Such results suggest that a phenomenon of spatial isolation from knowledge, as well as a small and concentrated secondary education school network, created a problem of access to education and, thus, prevented an adequate transition to secondary mass schooling in the 19th century.

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