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Growth, Distance to Frontier and Composition of Human Capital

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  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Meghir, Costas
  • Vandenbussche, Jérôme

Abstract

We examine the contribution of human capital to economy-wide technological improvements through the two channels of innovation and imitation. We develop a theoretical model showing that skilled labour has a higher growth-enhancing effect closer to the technological frontier under the reasonable assumption that innovation is a relatively more skill intensive activity than imitation. Also, we provide evidence in favour of this prediction using a panel dataset covering 19 OECD countries between 1960 and 2000 and explain why previous empirical research had found no positive relationship between initial schooling level and subsequent growth in rich countries. In particular, we show that in OECD economies it is crucial to isolate the two separate margins of primary/secondary and tertiary education. Interestingly, the latter type of schooling proves to be a factor of economic divergence.

Suggested Citation

  • Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas & Vandenbussche, Jérôme, 2005. "Growth, Distance to Frontier and Composition of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4860
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    convergence; economic growth; education; human capital; imitation; innovation; technological frontier; wave;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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