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How much human capital does Eastern Europe have? Measurement methods and results

  • Bas van Leeuwen
  • Peter Foldvari

There is a general consensus that human capital is a major determinant of economic development. However, the range of available human capital variables is very wide in both a technical and a theoretical sense, so that different human capital measures are sometimes only loosely correlated. This is partly because they capture different aspects of human capital ranging from the resources devoted to human capital creation (without taking account of market forces) to attaching a monetary value based on the market value of labour. Hence, different measures can lead to very different results and conclusions. This difference is especially prevalent in Eastern Europe, which experienced a massive expansion of formal education in the twentieth century which was not always matched by demand from the market or the efficiency of institutions. Consequently, if we look at the attainment figures only, we find that Eastern Europe had about 70-80% of the USA's human capital in per capita terms in the 1990s. Using methods that measure the market value of human capital, however, reduces this estimate to 10-20%.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Post-Communist Economies.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 189-201

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Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:20:y:2008:i:2:p:189-201
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