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Measuring Aggregate Human Capital

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  • Casey B. Mulligan
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Abstract

In this paper we construct a set of human capital indexes for the states of the United States for each Census year starting in 1940. In order to do so, we propose a new methodology for the construction of index numbers in panel data sets. Our method is based on an optimal approach by which we choose the 'best' set index numbers by minimizing the expected estimation error subject to some search constraints. Some of the empirical findings are that the stock of human capital in the United States grew twice as rapidly as the average years of schooling and that human capital inequality across states went up during the 1980s (while the dispersion of schooling actually fell). We conclude that using the average years of schooling for the empirical study of existing growth models may be misleading.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5016.

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Date of creation: Feb 1995
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Publication status: published as Mulligan, Casey B & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 2000. " Measuring Aggregate Human Capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 215-52, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5016

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  1. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Mulligan, C.B. & Sala-i-Martin, X., 1992. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," Papers 651, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  4. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
  5. Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
  6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
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