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A Human Capital Theory of Economic Growth: New Evidence for an Old Idea

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  • Theodore R. Breton

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Abstract

In 1960 Theodore Schultz expounded a human capital theory of economic growth that includes three elements: 1) Countries without much human capital cannot manage physical capital effectively, 2) Economic growth can only proceed if physical capital and human capital rise together, and 3) Human capital is the factor most likely to limit growth. I specify Schultz’s theory mathematically and test it in periods when global financial capital was highly mobile. I find that in 1870, 1910, and 2000, the average schooling attainment of the adult population largely determined the stock of physical capital/capita and GDP/capita in 42 market economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore R. Breton, 2014. "A Human Capital Theory of Economic Growth: New Evidence for an Old Idea," Documentos de Trabajo CIEF 011834, Universidad EAFIT.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000122:011834
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Schooling; Capital Investment; Economic Growth; Solow Model; Market Economies;

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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