Blum, Matthias Colvin, Christopher L. McAtackney, Laura McLaughlin, Eoin
Year of Publication:
QUCEH Working Paper Series 15-09
Geary and Stark find that Ireland´s Post-Famine per capita GDP converged with British levels, and that this convergence was due to TFP growth rather than mass emigration. We devise new long-run measurements of human capital accumulation in Ireland in order to facilitate an assessment of sources of this TFP growth, including the relative contribution of men and women. We do so by exploiting the frequency at which age data heap at round ages, a measure that has been widely interpreted as an indicator of a population´s basic numeracy skills. Because Földvári, Van Leeuwen and Van Leeuwen-Li find that gender-specific trends in this measure derived from census returns are biased by who is reporting and recording the age information, we correct any computed numeracy trends using data from prison and workhouse registers, sources in which women self-reported their age. We find that rural Irish women born early in the nineteenth century had substantially lower levels of human capital than uncorrected census data would otherwise suggest. Our results are large in magnitude and economically significant. The speed at which women converged is consistent with Geary and Stark´s interpretation of Irish economic history; Ireland likely graduated to Europe´s club of advanced economies thanks in part to rapid advances in female human capital.
age heaping female numeracy selection bias prisons workhouses Ireland