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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%.

Suggested Citation

  • Bas van Leeuwen & Peter Foldvari, 2008. "How much human capital does Eastern Europe have? Measurement methods and results," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 189-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:20:y:2008:i:2:p:189-201 DOI: 10.1080/14631370802018932

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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitry Didenko & Péter Földvári & Bas van Leeuwen, 2013. "Inspiration and Perspiration Factors in Economic Growth: The Former Soviet Union Area versus China (ca. 1920-2010)," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-283, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Mariya Neycheva, 2016. "Secondary versus higher education for growth: the case of three countries with different human capital’s structure and quality," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2367-2393, November.
    3. Irina Soboleva, 2011. "Patterns of Human Capital Development in Russia: Meeting the Challenge of Market Reforms and Globalization," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 3(2), pages 235-257, July.
    4. Bas van Leeuwen & Peter Földvári, 2013. "Capital Accumulation and Growth in Central Europe, 1920-2006," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 69-93, September.
    5. Torben Schubert & Andrea Bonaccorsi & Tasso Brandt & Daniela De Filippo & Benedetto Lepori & Andreas Niederl, 2014. "Is there a European university model? New evidence on national path dependence and structural convergence," Chapters,in: Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education, chapter 2, pages iii-iii Edward Elgar Publishing.

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