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Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870

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  • Christian Morrisson

    (UP1 - Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne - PRES HESAM)

  • Fabrice Murtin

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

Abstract

This paper presents a new dataset on educational attainment (primary, secondary and tertiary schooling) at the world level since 1870. Inequality in years of schooling is found to be rapidly decreasing, but we show that this result is completely driven by the decline in illiteracy. Then, we turn to inequality in human capital and focus on a Mincerian production function that accounts for diminishing returns to schooling. It explains the negative cross-country correlation between Mincerian returns to schooling and average schooling contrary to other functional forms. As a result, we show that world human capital inequality has increased since 1870, but does not exceed 10% of world income inequality. Next, we analyse the relationships between the national distributions of income and schooling. We show that human capital within countries exhibits an inverted U-shaped curve with respect to average schooling, namely a "Kuznets curve of education". We find that the usual Kuznets curve of income inequality is significant both in pooled and fixed-effects regressions over the period 1870-2000, and is robust to the inclusion of other variables in the regression such as schooling and human capital inequality. However, the "Kuznets effect" associated to GDP per capita is four times smaller in magnitude than the externality of average schooling favouring the decrease of income inequality within countries since 1870.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00588085.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00588085

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Keywords: inequality ; human capital ; economic history ; Kuznets curve;

References

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  1. Cohen, Daniel & Soto, Marcelo, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," CEPR Discussion Papers 3025, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lindert,Peter H., 2004. "Growing Public," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521529167.
  3. de la Fuente, Angel & Doménech, Rafael, 2002. "Educational Attainment in the OECD, 1960-95," CEPR Discussion Papers 3390, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521821759 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Godo, Yoshihisa & Hayami, Yujiro, 2002. "Catching Up in Education in the Economic Catch-Up of Japan with the United States, 1890-1990," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(4), pages 961-78, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. João Gabriel Fidalgo & Marta Simões & Adelaide Duarte, 2010. "Mind the Gap: Education Inequality at the Regional Level in Portugal, 1986-2005," Notas Económicas, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra, issue 32, pages 22-43, December.
  2. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00646594, HAL.
  3. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2008. "Global Trends in Numeracy 1820-1949 and its Implications for Long-Run Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2218, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Crayen, Dorothee & Baten, Joerg, 2010. "Global trends in numeracy 1820-1949 and its implications for long-term growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 82-99, January.
  5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00588053 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Annim, Samuel Kobina & Dasmani, Isaac, 2010. "The joint effect of human capital and income inequalities on HIV/AIDS prevalence: An exploratory investigation," MPRA Paper 21251, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2008. "The convergence of compulsory schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 23311, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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