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The Human-Capital Century And American Leadership: Virtues Of The Past

  • Goldin, Claudia

The modern concept of the wealth of nations emerged by the early twentieth century. Capital embodied in people—human capital—mattered. The United States led all nations in mass postelementary education during the “human-capital century.†The American system of education was shaped by New World endowments and Republican ideology and was characterized by virtues including publicly funded mass education that was open and forgiving, academic yet practical, secular, gender neutral, and funded and controlled by small districts. The American educational template was a remarkable success, but recent educational concerns and policy have redefined some of its “virtues†as “vices.â€

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 61 (2001)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 263-292

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2001:i:02:p:263-292_02
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  1. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, December.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," Working papers 99-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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