MPIDR Working Paper
The human capital of Central-Eastern and Eastern Europe in European perspective
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2012-002, 43 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (January 2012)
We trace the development of numeracy in Poland and Russia from the early 17th century onwards, and numeracy in Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania from the 18th century onwards. The fact that western Poland was doing relatively well during the 16th and early 17th centuries, but was not able to converge to Western European levels during the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, and even fell back relative to Southern Europe during this period, might support the hypothesis that the second serfdom development was one of the core factors delaying Eastern European human capital accumulation. The major wars in the region also had a devastating effect on numeracy levels.