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Human capital and economic growth: Sweden 1870–2000

Author

Listed:
  • Jonas Ljungberg

    () (Department of Economic History, Lund University, P.O. Box 7083, Lund, 22007, Sweden.)

  • Anders Nilsson

    (Department of Economic History, Lund University, P.O. Box 7083, Lund, 22007, Sweden.)

Abstract

This paper presents newly constructed series on human capital in Sweden 1870–2000. The estimates are based on enrolment in different forms of education, stretching as far back as 1812, and the size and age distribution of the population within age range 15–65 years. The secular accumulation of human capital has closely matched the long-term trend in aggregate productivity and both grew at a rate of 2.4% annually. Our estimates differ significantly from the data attributed to Sweden in the international short-cut estimates of human capital for the period since 1960. The basic question addressed is about causality: whether human capital causes economic growth or if causality goes in the other direction. We address this problem with modified Granger-causality tests. According to our results, changes in the stock of human capital have in a systematic way preceded changes in aggregate productivity up to the structural crisis in the 1970s. This allows us to conclude that human capital has been a causal factor in Swedish economic growth since the industrialisation. However, after 1975, the growth of human capital has not been able to match the demands of the third industrial revolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Ljungberg & Anders Nilsson, 2009. "Human capital and economic growth: Sweden 1870–2000," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 3(1), pages 71-95, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:3:y:2009:i:1:p:71-95
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Awel, Ahmed Mohammed, 2013. "The long-run Relationship between Human Capital and Economic Growth in Sweden," MPRA Paper 45183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Rosés, Joan R., 2010. "Human capital and economic growth in Spain, 1850-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 520-532, October.
    3. Emanuele Felice, 2012. "Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(3), pages 267-306, October.
    4. Ericsson, Johan & Molinder, Jakob, 2018. "A Workers’ Revolution in Sweden? Exploring Economic Growth and Distributional Change with Detailed Data on Construction Workers’ Wages, 1831–1900," Lund Papers in Economic History 181, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    5. repec:spr:soinre:v:137:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1594-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andersson, Jens & Berger, Thor, 2016. "Elites and the Expansion of Education in 19th-century Sweden," Lund Papers in Economic History 149, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    7. Ljungberg, Jonas, 2013. "A Scientific Revolution that Made Life Longer. Schooling and the Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe," Lund Papers in Economic History 127, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    8. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2015. "The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 189-225, July.
    9. Christian Andersson & Per Johansson, 2013. "Social stratification and out-of-school learning," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(3), pages 679-701, June.
    10. Madsen, Jakob B., 2016. "Health, Human Capital Formation And Knowledge Production: Two Centuries Of International Evidence," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 909-953, June.
    11. Lazuka, Volha, 2017. "Infant health and later-life labour market outcomes : Evidence from the introduction of sulfa antibiotics in Sweden," Lund Papers in Economic History 154, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    12. Bengtsson, Erik & Prado, Svante, 2019. "The rise of the middle class: The income gap between salaried employees and workers in Sweden, 1830-1935," Lund Papers in Economic History 186, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    13. Cristian Dragos & Simona Laura Dragos, 2012. "Econometric Estimations of the Services and Financial Sector Impact on Economic Growth Variations in Times of Crisis," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(Special N), pages 621-634, November.
    14. Tyrefors Hinnerich, Björn & Lindgren, Erik & Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2017. "Political Power, Resistance to Technological Change and Economic Development: Evidence from the 19th century Sweden," Working Paper Series 1172, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; Education; Economic growth; Productivity; Vocational education;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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