Nicolás Lillo (FEN, Universidad de Chile)

Seminario:“ The Homestead Act and Human Capital: The Role of Land Inequality and Settlement Patterns”


This paper establishes a series of facts regarding migration and human capital accumulation in the context of a period of large scale egalitarian land distribution. The settlement of the American West was facilitated by the enactment of the Homestead Act of 1862, which entitled any adult (women and free blacks included) to 160 acres of land in the Public Domain. I show two important facts: First, literacy rates were already increasing in areas that were to be settled by the Homestead Act, prior to the enactment of the law, and they continued converging to more settled areas in the decades after. Second, school enrolment rates only began converging to non-Homestead areas after the enactment of the law. I explore two salient mechanisms: land inequality and migration. I show that the reduction in land inequality was important, but that the role of selective migration is potentially dominant given that the school enrolment gains were concentrated among the children of recent arrivals.

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Datos del Seminario

Fecha de inicio:
30 de Abril, 2021 | 12:00 hrs.

Fecha de término
30 de Abril, 2021 | 13:00 hrs.