This paper studies the effect of landownership concentration on school enrollment for nineteenth-century Prussia. Prussia is an interesting laboratory given its decentralized educational system and the presence of heterogeneous agricultural institutions. We find that landownership concentration, a proxy for the institution of serf labor, has a negative effect on schooling. This effect diminishes substantially in the second half of the century. Causality of this relationship is confirmed by introducing soil-texture to identify exogenous farm size variation. Panel estimates further rule out unobserved heterogeneity. We argue that serfdom hampered peasants' demand for education whereas the successive emancipation triggered a demand thereof.
land concentration institutions serfdom education Prussian economic history