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Cinnirella, Francesco; Schüler, Ruth (2018): Nation building: The role of central spending in education. In: Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 67: pp. 18-39
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Abstract

It is generally argued that, in the context of Imperial Germany, public primary education was used to form "loyal citizens" and to build a nation. In this paper we analyze to what extent state spending on primary education affected participation at general elections and votes for pro nationalist parties. We combine census data on the composition of school funding with federal election data at the level of 199 constituencies in five-year intervals from 1886 to 1911. Panel estimates of models with constituency and time-fixed effects show that an increase in the share of central spending is positively related to the vote share for pro-nationalist parties. Results on voter turnout are weaker and less clear cut. Estimates of models with lagged state spending by category of expenditure are consistent with the role of indoctrination of public primary education.