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Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time

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  • Guillaume Vandenbroucke

    (University of Iowa)

  • Diego Restuccia

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Consider the following facts. In 1950 rich countries attained an average of 8.1 years of schooling whereas poor countries attained 1.3 years --a 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold even though the per-capita income gap did not decrease. What explains educational attainment across countries and their evolution over time? We develop a model of human capital accumulation to quantitatively assess the importance of productivity, life expectancy, and growth in explaining educational attainment across countries and over time. Calibrating the parameters of the model to reproduce historical data in the United States, we find that the model accounts for 86 percent of the difference in schooling levels between rich and poor countries in 1950 and 80 percent of the increase in schooling over time in poor countries. The model generates a faster increase in schooling in poor relative to rich economies even if their income gap does not decrease. These results have important implications for educational policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 315.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:315

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References

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Cited by:
  1. repec:cen:wpaper:12-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2012. "A Century of Human Capital and Hours," Working Papers, University of Toronto, Department of Economics tecipa-450, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Vogel, Edgar, 2011. "Human Capital and the Demographic Transition: Why Schooling Became Optimal," MEA discussion paper series, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy 11247, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  4. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "The Rise And Fall Of Unions In The U.S," Working Papers, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau 12-12r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Jun 2013.
  5. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2013. "What explains schooling differences across countries?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 184-202.
  6. Diego Restuccia, 2013. "The Latin American Development Problem: An Interpretation," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  7. Dragomirescu-Gaina, Catalin & Elia, Leandro & Weber, Anke, 2014. "A fast-forward look at tertiary education attainment in Europe 2020," MPRA Paper 57957, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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