We investigate the historical determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in the late nineteenth century, immediately following the country’s Unification. We use a comprehensive newly-assembled database including 69 provinces over twenty-year sub-samples covering the 1861-1901 period. We find robust evidence that in 1861, at Unification, gender equality in education is still positively associated with the medieval pattern of commerce, along the routes that connected Italian cities among themselves and with the rest of the world. The beneficial effect of medieval commerce on female education relative to male persists after we control for a broad set of confounding factors reflecting the geographic, economic, political, and cultural differentiation of medieval Italy and after we implement an instrumentation strategy. The long-term influence of medieval commerce quickly dissipates after nationally-directed educational policies are implemented after Unification.
Bertocchi, Graziella e Monica, Bozzano. "Women, Medieval Commerce, and the Education Gender Gap" Working paper, CEPR (Center for Economic Policy Research), 2013.