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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 countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest countries 1.3 years, a large 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold because schooling increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We consider an otherwise standard model of schooling featuring non-homothetic preferences and a labor supply margin to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy in explaining educational attainment. A calibrated version of the model accounts for 90 percent of the difference in schooling levels in 1950 between rich and poor countries and 71 percent of the faster increase in schooling over time in poor relative to rich countries. These results suggest an alternative view of the determinants of low education in developing countries that is based on low productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-507.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 28 Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-507

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Keywords: schooling; productivity; life expectancy; labor supply.;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Marla Ripoll, 2011. "What Explains Schooling Differences Across Countries?," Working Papers, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group 2011-028, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  2. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2012. "A Century of Human Capital and Hours," Working Papers, University of Toronto, Department of Economics tecipa-460, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Emin Dinlersoz & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Unions in the U.S," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports, Economie d'Avant Garde 19, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  4. Diego Restuccia, 2013. "The Latin American Development Problem: An Interpretation," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  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, 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.
  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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