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The fading productivity of schooling in East Asia


  • Gundlach, Erich
  • Wo[beta]mann, Ludger


We estimate changes in the productivity of schooling for six East Asian countries. Our productivity measure is based on changes in the relative price of schooling. A rising price of schooling relative to other labor-intensive service sectors should indicate declining relative schooling productivity. We find that the price of schooling increased by more than the price of other labor-intensive services in 1980-1994. We also find that the cognitive achievement of pupils did not change substantially, which suggests a constant quality of schooling output. Hence we conclude that schooling productivity has declined. The main reason for the fading productivity of schooling in East Asian countries appears to be a strong decline in the pupil-teacher ratio.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gundlach, Erich & Wo[beta]mann, Ludger, 2001. "The fading productivity of schooling in East Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 401-417.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:12:y:2001:i:3:p:401-417

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mingat, Alain, 1998. "The strategy used by high-performing Asian economies in education: Some lessons for developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 695-715, April.
    2. Lee, Jong-Wha & Barro, Robert J, 2001. "Schooling Quality in a Cross-Section of Countries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(272), pages 465-488, November.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 1997. "Understanding the Twentieth-Century Growth in U.S. School Spending," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 35-68.
    4. Behrman, Jere R., 1999. "Schooling in Asia: Selected microevidence on determinants, effects, and policy implications," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 147-194.
    5. Pritchett, Lant & Filmer, Deon, 1999. "What education production functions really show: a positive theory of education expenditures," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 223-239, April.
    6. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    7. Quibria, M. G., 1999. "Challenges to human resource development in Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 431-444.
    8. Eric A. Hanushek & Dongwook Kim, 1995. "Schooling, Labor Force Quality, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gundlach, Erich & Wossmann, Ludger & Gmelin, Jens, 2001. "The Decline of Schooling Productivity in OECD Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages 135-147, May.
    10. Jesus Felipe, 1999. "Total factor productivity growth in East Asia: A critical survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 1-41.
    11. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
    12. Rao, M. Govinda, 1998. "Accommodating public expenditure policies: the case of fast growing Asian economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 673-694, April.
    13. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Educational Production in East Asia: The Impact of Family Background and Schooling Policies on Student Performance," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 331-353, August.
    2. Luiz Felipe Leite Estanislau do Amaral & Naércio Menezes-Filho, 2008. "A Relação entre Gastos Educacionais e Desempenho Escolar," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807201800160, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. Samuel Jebaraj Benjamin & M. Srikamaladevi Marathamuthu & Saravanan Muthaiyah & Murali Raman, 2011. "Affordability of private tertiary education: a Malaysian study," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 382-406, March.
    4. Gundlach, Erich, 2003. "Die Bedeutung des Humankapitals für das Wirtschaftswachstum," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3029, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Gundlach, Erich & Hemmer, Hans-Rimbert, 2003. "Soziale Ertragsraten und Verteilungseffekte des Humankapitals: internationale Evidenz," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3223, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Limor Hatsor, 2014. "Allocation of Resources in Educational Production: The Budget Puzzle," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(6), pages 854-883, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education


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