IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jmacro/v59y2019icp169-194.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does higher education expansion enhance productivity?

Author

Listed:
  • Yao, Yao

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of the higher education expansion in China on average labor productivity. I argue that in an economy such as China’s, where allocation distortions widely exist, educational policy affects labor productivity not only through its effect on human capital stock, but also through its effect on human capital allocation across sectors. Thus, its impact could be limited if misallocation becomes more severe following the policy. I build a two-sector general equilibrium model with policy distortions favoring the state sector and overlapping generations of heterogeneous households making educational and occupational choices. Quantitative results show that, given policy distortions, China’s higher education expansion had a small but negative effect on its average labor productivity (–2.5%). The crowding out of productive capital caused by magnified resource misallocation plays a key role in driving down productivity. However, the productivity effect of the educational policy would turn positive if distortions were further reduced or removed.

Suggested Citation

  • Yao, Yao, 2019. "Does higher education expansion enhance productivity?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 169-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:59:y:2019:i:c:p:169-194
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2018.11.009
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164070418305093
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2014. "Human Capital and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2736-2762, September.
    2. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
    3. Boyreau-Debray, Genevieve & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    5. Loren Brandt & Trevor Tombe & Xiadong Zhu, 2013. "Factor Market Distortions Across Time, Space, and Sectors in China," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 39-58, January.
    6. David Dollar & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Das (Wasted) Kapital; Firm Ownership and Investment Efficiency in China," IMF Working Papers 07/9, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
    8. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Zheng (Michael) Song, 2015. "Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 50(1 (Spring), pages 295-366.
    9. Allen, Franklin & Qian, Jun & Qian, Meijun, 2005. "Law, finance, and economic growth in China," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 57-116, July.
    10. Meng, Xin & Shen, Kailing & Xue, Sen, 2013. "Economic reform, education expansion, and earnings inequality for urban males in China, 1988–2009," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 227-244.
    11. German Cubas & B. Ravikumar & Gustavo Ventura, 2016. "Talent, Labor Quality, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 160-181, July.
    12. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Zheng (Michael) Song, 2015. "Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 295-366.
    13. German Cubas & B. Ravikumar & Gustavo Ventura, 2016. "Talent, Labor Quality, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 160-181, July.
    14. Tallman, Ellis W. & Wang, Ping, 1994. "Human capital and endogenous growth evidence from Taiwan," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 101-124, August.
    15. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
    16. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton & Fabio Kanczuk, 2009. "Plant-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 243-272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    18. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    19. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    20. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    21. repec:wyi:journl:002165 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. 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.
    23. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2524, CESifo Group Munich.
    24. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    25. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    26. Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D. & Tao, Zhigang & Wang, Yijiang, 2000. "A Multitask Theory of State Enterprise Reform," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 716-738, December.
    27. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2014. "The efficiency of human capital allocations in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 106-118.
    28. 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.
    29. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-334, February.
    30. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
    31. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2010. "Development Accounting," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 207-223, January.
    32. Baumol, William J., 1996. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, unproductive, and destructive," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-22, January.
    33. SchmitzJr, James A., 2001. "Government production of investment goods and aggregate labor productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 163-187, February.
    34. Ni, Shawn & Wang, Xinghe, 1994. "Human capital and income taxation in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 493-507.
    35. Wendy Dobson & Anil K. Kashyap, 2006. "The Contradiction in China's Gradualist Banking Reforms," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 103-162.
    36. John Fender & Ping Wang, 2003. "Educational Policy in a Credit Constrained Economy with Skill Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 939-964, August.
    37. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    38. Pei-Ju Liao & Ping Wang & Yin-Chi Wang & Chong Kee Yip, 2017. "Educational Choice, Rural-urban Migration and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 23939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Fleisher, Belton M. & Hu, Yifan & Li, Haizheng & Kim, Seonghoon, 2011. "Economic transition, higher education and worker productivity in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 86-94, January.
    40. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Zheng (Michael) Song, 2015. "Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China," NBER Working Papers 21006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    41. Li, Haizheng, 2003. "Economic transition and returns to education in China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 317-328, June.
    42. Michele Boldrin & Been-Lon Chen & Ping Wang (ed.), 2004. "Human Capital, Trade and Public Policy in Rapidly Growing Economies," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3470.
    43. Yin-Chi Wang & Ping Wang & Chong Yip & Pei-Ju Liao, 2017. "Educational Choice, Rural-urban Migration and Economic Development: The Role of Zhaosheng in China," 2017 Meeting Papers 738, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    44. Haizheng Li & Yi Luo, 2004. "Reporting errors, ability heterogeneity, and returns to schooling in China," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 191-207, October.
    45. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yaroslav Kuzminov & Pavel Sorokin & Isak Froumin, 2019. "Generic and Specific Skills as Components of Human Capital: New Challenges for Education Theory and Practice," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 13(2), pages 19-41.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Higher education expansion; Economic reform; Human capital; Allocation distortion; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:59:y:2019:i:c:p:169-194. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.