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Education: The People's Asset


  • Birdsall, N.


Education, the most easily measured form of human capital, is, like land and other forms of wealth, an asset. Once acquired it cannot be stolen or sold, and as its amount increases, the proportion of other assets in total wealth declines; if education is more equally distributed than other assets, the total concentration of all assets declines. This paper sets out the evidence for a vicious circle in which history, geography and economic policies in Latin America have generated high income inequality; high income inequality has contributed to low and unequal accumulation of education; and low and unequal accumulation of this asset has reduced growth and exacerbated income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Birdsall, N., 1999. "Education: The People's Asset," Papers 5, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:brooki:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steenblik, R. P. & Wigley, K. J., 1990. "Coal policies and trade barriers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 351-367, May.
    2. Hiro Lee & Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, 1994. "The OECD Green Model: An Updated Overview," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 97, OECD Publishing.
    3. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 401-423, January.
    4. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "The political economy of coal subsidies in Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 485-496, June.
    5. McKibbin, Warwick J. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1998. "The theoretical and empirical structure of the G-Cubed model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 123-148, January.
    6. W. J. McKibbin & P. J. Wilcoxen, "undated". "Economic Implications of Greenhouse Gas Policy," Discussion Papers 116, Brookings Institution International Economics.
    7. Steenblik, Ronald P & Coroyannakis, Panos, 1995. "Reform of coal policies in Western and Central Europe : Implications for the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 537-553, June.
    8. Anderson, Kym & Peng, Chao Yang, 1998. "Feeding and fueling China in the 21st century," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1413-1429, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2003. "Inequality, Group Cohesion, and Public Good Provision: An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 0308, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. Mohamed Ben Mimoun, 2004. "On the role of inequalities and public education expenditures in human capital investment : a theoretical approach," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques bla04094, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    3. Mamoon, Dawood, 2017. "Why International Trade Cause Inequality in Developing Countries," MPRA Paper 82268, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Thorbecke, Erik & Charumilind, Chutatong, 2002. "Economic Inequality and Its Socioeconomic Impact," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1477-1495, September.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy


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