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How much do educational outcomes matter in OECD countries?

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  • Hanushek, Eric A.
  • Wößmann, Ludger

Abstract

Existing growth research provides little explanation for the very large differences in long-run growth performance across OECD countries. We show that cognitive skills can account for growth differences within the OECD, whereas a range of economic institutions and quantitative measures of tertiary education cannot. Under the growth model estimates and plausible projection parameters, school improvements falling within currently observed performance levels yield very large gains. The present value of OECD aggregate gains through 2090 could be as much as 275 trillion, or 13.8\% of the discounted value of future GDP for plausible policy changes. Extensive sensitivity analyses indicate that, while different model frameworks and alternative parameter choices make a difference, the economic impact of improved educational outcomes remains enormous. Interestingly, the quantitative difference between an endogenous and neoclassical model framework - with improved skills affecting the long-run growth rate versus just the steady-state income level - matters less than academic discussions suggest. We close by discussing evidence on which education policy reforms may be able to bring about the simulated improvements in educational outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20416.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in Economic Policy 67 26(2011): pp. 427-491
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20416

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  1. Eric Eide, 2004. "The Teacher Labour Market and Teacher Quality," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 230-244, Summer.
  2. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julian Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2009. "The Effect of Employment Protection Legislation and Financial Market Imperfections on Investment: Evidence from a Firm-Level Panel of EU countries," CSEF Working Papers 227, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  3. Thomas Dee & Brian Jacob, 2009. "The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 15531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2005. "Human capital, the structure of production and growth," Economics Working Papers 902, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Hoxby, Caroline & Mas-Colell, Andreu & Sapir, Andreu, 2010. "The governance and performance of universities: evidence from Europe and the US," Scholarly Articles 12502061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Bradley, Steve & Taylor, Jim, 2002. "The Effect of the Quasi-market on the Efficiency-Equity Trade-Off in the Secondary School Sector," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 295-314, July.
  7. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  8. Serge Coulombe & Jean-François Tremblay, 2004. "Literacy, Human Capital and Growth," Working Papers 0407E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  9. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
  10. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Adele Atkinson & Simon Burgess & Bronwyn Croxson & Paul Gregg, 2004. "Evaluating the Impact of Performance-related Pay for Teachers in England," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/113, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  12. repec:lan:wpaper:971 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  14. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Joshua Angrist & Susan Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag Pathak, 2009. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots," NBER Working Papers 15549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  16. Booker, Kevin & Gilpatric, Scott M. & Gronberg, Timothy & Jansen, Dennis, 2007. "The impact of charter school attendance on student performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 849-876, June.
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