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The Kuznets Curve of Education: A Global Perspective on Education Inequalities

  • Christian Morrisson
  • Fabrice Murtin

This paper describes global trends in average educational attainment and in education inequality since 1870, improving the database released by Morrisson-Murtin (2009). Inequality in years of schooling is found to be rapidly decreasing, a direct consequence of the decline in illiteracy. Then, we turn to human capital inequality, and focus, among several other alternatives, on a Mincerian production function of human capital that accounts for diminishing returns to schooling. Within countries, we find evidence of an inverted U-shape curve for human capital inequality, namely a Kuznets curve of education. At the world level, human capital inequality has followed a similar pattern, first increasing from 1870 to 1970, then decreasing.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp116.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0116.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0116
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 78, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  3. Murtin, Fabrice & Viarengo, Martina, 2009. "American Education in the Age of Mass Migrations 1870-1930," IZA Discussion Papers 3964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Amparo Castello & Rafael Domenech, 2002. "Human Capital Inequality and Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C187-C200, March.
  5. Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  6. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
  8. Murtin, Fabrice & Wacziarg, Romain, 2011. "The Democratic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 8599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Bourguignon, Francois & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "Oligarchy, democracy, inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 285-313, August.
  10. Thomas, Vinod & Wang, Yan & Fan, Xibo, 2001. "Measuring education inequality - Gini coefficients of education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2525, The World Bank.
  11. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The Century of Education," CEP Discussion Papers dp0934, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Esther Duflo, 2001. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 795-813, September.
  13. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1999. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality in the Process of Development," Working Papers 99-27, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  14. Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2008. "The Convergence of Compulsory Schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000," CEE Discussion Papers 0095, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  15. Jean-Claude Berthélemy, 2004. "To what extent are African education policies pro-poor ?," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla04003, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  16. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
  17. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2005. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 11544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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