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Measuring Aggregate Human Capital

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  • Mulligan, Casey B
  • Sala-i-Martin, Xavier

Abstract

We construct a set of human capital indexes for the states of the United States for each census year starting in 1940. To do so, we propose a new methodology for the construction of index numbers in panel data sets. Our method is based on an optimal approach by which we choose the "best" set of index numbers by minimizing the expected estimation error subject to some research constraints. Some of the empirical findings are that the stock of human capital in the United States grew twice as rapidly as the average years of schooling and that human capital inequality across states went up during the 1980s (while the dispersion of schooling actually fell). We conclude that using the average years of schooling for the empirical study of existing growth models may be misleading. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Mulligan, Casey B & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 2000. "Measuring Aggregate Human Capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 215-252, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:5:y:2000:i:3:p:215-52
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
    2. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    3. Diewert, Erwin, 2007. "Index Numbers," Economics working papers diewert-07-01-03-08-17-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 31 Jan 2007.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1993. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 739-773.
    5. 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.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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