Timothée Demont : timothee.demont[at]univ-amu.fr
Alice Fabre : alice.fabre[at]univ-amu.fr
This paper studies how landownership concentration affected the introduction of national education in late-nineteenth century England and Wales. England and Wales is an interesting laboratory given that public schooling lagged behind Prussia and the United States by nearly half a century, that education provision was highly decentralized, and that it was funded through property taxes, borne mainly by landowners. Exploiting the reports from the Committee of Council on Education (1870–99), I find that counties where landownership was more concentrated raised fewer funds for education, built fewer schools, and as a result, their students were less likely to pass the national exams. I identify the mechanism through which land affects education provision to be a political one: the correlation is stronger where land is concentrated in the hands of peers controlling most public offices. Furthermore, exploiting variation in the distance to the peer’s seat across 1,495 boroughs and parishes, I find that those under the influence of wealthier peers raised less funds for education.