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Human Capital and Rural Development: What Are the Linkages?


  • Bollman, Ray D.


Rural Canada is experiencing considerable "demographic pressure" as 1.76 rural persons are now looking for a job for each rural person retiring from the workforce. Rural Canada appears disadvantaged. Among OECD countries, Canada has the biggest urban-rural gap in the share of the workforce (aged 25 to 44) with university or college graduation. New jobs in the globalising economy require a high capacity to deal with disequilibria. Improving the human capital of the local workforce is essential to provide opportunities for the individuals in the workforce, regardless of where they will work. However, local economic development strategies should focus on more than human capital development to stimulate local job growth. We offer 4 measures of local community development. Our equations explain only 21 to 34 percent of the variability in these measures of local community development in the 1980s. Contrary to the research findings in the United States, the findings reported in this paper suggest that the human capital complement in Canada's communities did provide a positive (albeit weak) boost to job growth in the locality during the 1980s. Thus, what are the linkages between human capital and rural development? First, the literature suggests human capacity is largely developed by the nutrition and nurturing of children, specifically in the period of minus nine months to plus three years. Secondly, a higher human capacity in a community (as proxied by years of schooling) is weakly associated with a higher growth in community employment but is weakly associated with a lower growth in wages that appears to cause a weak association with lower aggregate community earnings. Investment in nutrition and nurturing of children is a key factor. A higher education level in a community provided only a weak employment boost during the 1980s.

Suggested Citation

  • Bollman, Ray D., 1999. "Human Capital and Rural Development: What Are the Linkages?," Agriculture and Rural Working Paper Series 28025, Statistics Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:scarwp:28025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Griliches, Zvi, 1997. "Education, Human Capital, and Growth: A Personal Perspective," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 330-344, January.
    2. Newman, Robert J. & Sullivan, Dennis H., 1988. "Econometric analysis of business tax impacts on industrial location: What do we know, and how do we know it?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 215-234, March.
    3. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    4. Osberg, L., 1995. "The Equity/Efficiency Trade-Off in Retrospect," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 95-04, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    5. Kusmin, Lorin D., 1994. "Factors Associated with the Growth of Local and Regional Economies: A Review of Selected Empirical Literature," Staff Reports 278733, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bill Reimer, 2002. "A Sample Frame for Rural Canada: Design and Evaluation," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(8), pages 845-859.
    2. du Plessis, Valerie, 2004. "Trends in Non-Farm Self-Employment Activity for Rural Women 1981-2001," Agriculture and Rural Working Paper Series 28033, Statistics Canada.
    3. Abada, Teresa & Hou, Feng & Ram, Bali, 2008. "Group Differences in Educational Attainment Among the Children of Immigrants," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2008308e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Pavel Ciaian & Tomáš Ratinger, 2009. "Income Distribution Effects of EU Rural Development Policies: The Case of Farm Investment Support," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2009_01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.


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