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Literacy and Age in Preindustrial England: Quantitative Evidence and Implications

Galenson, David W. (1980) Literacy and Age in Preindustrial England: Quantitative Evidence and Implications. Social Science Working Paper, 321. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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This paper presents multivariate estimates of the relationship between the ability to sign and a number of individual characteristics for two groups of English men and women of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The results generally confirm those of other historians' studies of literacy in pre-industrial England, as they indicate that, with other things equal, men were more literate than women, and that there was a positive correlation between the ability to sign and both possession of a skilled occupation and residence in London. However the results also indicate the presence of a strong positive association between an individual's age and the ability to sign. Since those in the samples were all above the normal school-leaving age, this finding calls into question the assumption of some earlier investigations that the ability to sign was normally acquired in school, and points to the possible quantitative importance of informal education in pre-industrial England.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information:I am grateful to Stanley Engerman for discussions of many of the issues treated in this paper, and to Andrew Abel and Frederic Mishkin for comments and suggestions. Kevin O'Meara and Henry Otto provided able assistance with the programming. Galenson, David W. "Literacy and age in preindustrial England: Quantitative evidence and implications." Economic Development and Cultural Change 29.4 (1981): 813-829.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Literacy, Age distribution, Men, Workforce, Illiteracy, Informal learning, Numeracy, Variable coefficients, Economic development, Age
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:321
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171010-161627705
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82271
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:12 Oct 2017 21:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:52

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