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Human capital and growth : the recovered role of education systems

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  • Dessus, Sebastien
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    Abstract

    Recent empirical studies question conventional wisdom about the importance of education to growth. These results partly reflect how international differences in the quality of education systems--defined by the systems'ability to produce one marginal unit of productive human capital--are not taken into account. The author estimates neoclassical growth models on panel data in which the elasticity of human capital depends stochastically on different characteristics of the education system. Among characteristics that explain differences in quality are education infrastructure, the initial endowment of human capital, and the ability to distribute educational services equally among potential students. Giving priority to primary education for all rather than secondary educationto a few is more likely to foster growth (for the same fiscal burden). But parallel actions are also probably needed--for example, promoting institutions that motivate skilled workers to spend time on growth-promoting activities and encouraging the inflow of foreign technologies to maximize the social return to public investment in education.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2632.

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    Date of creation: 31 Jul 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2632

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    Related research

    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Labor Policies; Capital Markets and Capital Flows; Decentralization; Social Capital; Economic Theory&Research; Achieving Shared Growth; Inequality; Economic Growth; Social Capital;

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    1. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
    2. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
    3. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. T. Paul Schultz, 1999. "Health and Schooling Investments in Africa," Working Papers 801, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    5. Eric A. Hanushek & Dongwook Kim, 1995. "Schooling, Labor Force Quality, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Francesco Caselli & Gerardo Esquivel & Fernando Lefort, 1997. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 03, Central Bank of Chile.
    7. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cohen, Daniel, 1996. " Tests of the "Convergence Hypothesis": Some Further Results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 351-61, September.
    9. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
    10. Galor, Oded, 1996. "Convergence? Inferences from Theoretical Models," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1056-69, July.
    11. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    12. T. Paul Schultz, 1999. "Health and Schooling Investments in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
    13. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1997. "Learning by Trading and the Returns to Human Capital in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 17-32, January.
    14. Lee, J.-W. & Barro, R.J., 1998. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," Papers 659, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    15. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    16. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
    17. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
    18. 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.
    19. Birdsall, Nancy & Ross, David & Sabot, Richard, 1995. "Inequality and Growth Reconsidered: Lessons from East Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(3), pages 477-508, September.
    20. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rossana PatrĂ³n, 2006. "Enhancing the Public Provision of Education: The Economics of Education Reform in Developing Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1106, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Martin, Will, 2005. "Outgrowing resource dependence theory and some recent developments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3482, The World Bank.
    3. Ajitava Raychaudhuri & Prabir De, 2007. "Assessing Barriers to Trade in Education Services in Developing Asia - Pacific Countries:An Empirical Exercise," Working Papers 3407, Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an initiative of UNESCAP and IDRC, Canada..

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