Cliometrics of Primary Education in the Long Nineteenth Century France


  • Claude Diebolt University of Strasbourg
  • Magali Jaoul-Grammare University of Strasbourg
  • Faustine Perrin Lund University



primary education, financing, nineteenth century, France


The objective of this article is to study the links between the financing of primary education, schooling and economic growth in France in the nineteenth century. To do so, we use information on the financing allocated by the State, the departments, the municipalities, and households over the period 1820–1913. Our analysis is in two stages. First, we analyse the evolution of these different types of financing over time, relying on the outliers’ methodology to detect the existence of possible breaks in the series. Next, we study the causal relationships between the different types of financing, the number of children enrolled in primary education and the gross domestic product. Over the period studied, our results confirm that mass schooling is primarily driven by political will, before being explained by the increase in wealth available in the economy.

Author Biographies

Claude Diebolt, University of Strasbourg

CNRS Research Professor of Economics

Magali Jaoul-Grammare, University of Strasbourg

CNRS Researcher of Economics

Faustine Perrin, Lund University

Senior Lecturer in Economic History