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Education and military rivalry

Aghion, Philippe ORCID: 0000-0002-9019-1677, Jaravel, Xavier, Persson, Torsten and Rouzet, Dorothee (2019) Education and military rivalry. Journal of the European Economic Association, 17 (2). 376 – 412. ISSN 1542-4766

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jeea/jvy022


What makes countries engage in reforms of mass education? Motivated by historical evidence on the relation between military threats and expansions of primary education, we assemble a panel dataset from the last 150 years in European countries and from the postwar period in a large set of countries. We uncover three stylized facts: (i) investments in education are associated with military threats, (ii) democratic institutions are negatively correlated with education investments, and (iii) education investments respond more strongly to military threats in democracies. These patterns continue to hold when we exploit rivalries in a country’s neighborhood as an alternative source of variation. We develop a theoretical model that rationalizes the three empirical findings. The model has an additional prediction about investments in physical infrastructures, which finds support in the data.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
L Education > L Education (General)
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I20 - General
H - Public Economics > H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies > H56 - National Security and War
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N30 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: General, International, or Comparative (Migration)
N - Economic History > N4 - Government, War, Law, and Regulation > N40 - General, International, or Comparative
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2018 09:16
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 20:24
Funders: ERC, Torsten and Ragnar Soderberg Foundation

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