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Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time

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  • Diego Restuccia
  • Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Abstract

Consider the following facts. In 1950 the richest ten-percent of countries attained an average of 8.1 years of schooling whereas the poorest ten-percent of countries attained 1.3 years, a 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold. The fact is that schooling has increased faster in poor than in rich countries even though the per-capita income gap has generally not decreased. What explains educational attainment across countries and their evolution over time? We develop a model of human capital accumulation that emphasizes productivity and life expectancy differences across countries and time. Calibrating the parameters of the model to reproduce historical data for the United States, we find that the model accounts for 95 percent of the difference in schooling levels between rich and poor countries in 1950 and 78 percent of the increase in schooling over time in poor countries. The model generates a faster increase in schooling in poor than in rich economies even when their income gap does not decrease. These results have important implications for educational policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-433.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 14 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-433

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Keywords: Educational attainment; productivity; life expectancy; education policy; labor supply.;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Diego Restuccia, 2012. "The Latin American Development Problem: An Interpretation," Working Papers tecipa-466, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2013. "What explains schooling differences across countries?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 184-202.
  3. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 19, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  4. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "A Century Of Human Capital And Hours," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1849-1866, 07.
  5. repec:cen:wpaper:12-12 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Vogel, Edgar, 2011. "Human Capital and the Demographic Transition: Why Schooling Became Optimal," MEA discussion paper series 11247, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

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