This study is the first to explore long-run trends of numeracy for the 1820-1949 period in 165 countries, and its contribution to growth. Estimates of the long-run numeracy development of most countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, America, and Europe are presented, using age-heaping techniques. Assessing the determinants of numeracy, we find school enrolment as well as Chinese instruments of number learning to have been particularly important. We also study the contribution of numeracy as measured by the age-heaping strategy for long-run economic growth. In a variety of specifications, numeracy mattered quite strongly for growth patterns around the globe.
human capital age heaping growth industrial revolution numeracy