Do Polish partitions still matter?
In the XVIII century, Poland was partitioned between three empires with completely different approaches towards Polish culture and education. Can these partitions help to explain differences in students' outcomes across regions? Andreas Backhaus, a researcher from LMU Muenchen, tackles this question in his most recent study "Fading Legacies: Human Capital in the Aftermath of the Partitions of Poland." Below, you can find the abstract. To learn more, you can come to his presentation, 10 am, Madalinskiego 6/8, Warsaw (room 115).
This paper studies the longevity of historical legacies in the context of the formation of human capital. The Partitions of Poland represent a large-scale natural experiment that instilled the country of Poland with three different legacies of education, resulting in sharp differences in human capital among the Polish population by the end of World War I. Using a spatial regression discontinuity design and a large, unique dataset, I show that the causal effect of the partitions on school enrollment disappears within two decades after Polish independence. The imperial legacy on human capital measured by literacy decreases likewise, vanishing during the era of communism.