Today, secondary schooling is a natural pathway for generations of young people. It was not always so. Historically, education was an elite pursuit. And even as public education systems with compulsory primary schooling began to take root (for much of the developed world, in the nineteenth century), high school remained the domain of a relative few who would study at university.
In a world where access to education is restricted rather than open, where schooling is an option (perhaps only for some) rather than a necessity, it is relevant to consider the factors driving the pursuit of education. What determined who went to high school?
One candidate is location. In a recent working paper, Insa-Sánchez explores how the geographic distribution of people and high schools across nineteenth-century Spain influenced educational attainment.→