Keywords: economic development, political economy of education, Habsburg monarchy
Modern schooling systems arose not only in response to the grassroots demand for marketable human capital but also as tools of political control and cultural influence. Such was arguably the case of the multiethnic Habsburg monarchy in the 19 th century. I discuss the extent of the provision of schooling, considering a range of metrics including teachers, classrooms and the number of grades offered. Using the issue of the language of instruction as an example, I show that in spite of having the force of the law, the success of the public education policy depended on the active adoption of the policy by the citizenry and that this was often hampered by the cultural politics of the same policy-makers who designed the schooling system.