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Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Morrisson

    (UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Fabrice Murtin

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE Paris - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper presents a new dataset on educational attainment (primary, secondary and tertiary schooling) at the world level since 1870. Inequality in years of schooling is found to be rapidly decreasing, but we show that this result is completely driven by the decline in illiteracy. Then, we turn to inequality in human capital and focus on a Mincerian production function that accounts for diminishing returns to schooling. It explains the negative cross-country correlation between Mincerian returns to schooling and average schooling contrary to other functional forms. As a result, we show that world human capital inequality has increased since 1870, but does not exceed 10% of world income inequality. Next, we analyse the relationships between the national distributions of income and schooling. We show that human capital within countries exhibits an inverted U-shaped curve with respect to average schooling, namely a "Kuznets curve of education". We find that the usual Kuznets curve of income inequality is significant both in pooled and fixed-effects regressions over the period 1870-2000, and is robust to the inclusion of other variables in the regression such as schooling and human capital inequality. However, the "Kuznets effect" associated to GDP per capita is four times smaller in magnitude than the externality of average schooling favouring the decrease of income inequality within countries since 1870.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "Education inequalities and the Kuznets curves: a global perspective since 1870," Working Papers halshs-00588085, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00588085
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de la Fuente, Angel & Doménech, Rafael, 2002. "Educational Attainment in the OECD, 1960-95," CEPR Discussion Papers 3390, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
    3. Godo, Yoshihisa & Hayami, Yujiro, 2002. "Catching Up in Education in the Economic Catch-Up of Japan with the United States, 1890-1990," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(4), pages 961-978, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(2), pages 210-246.
    2. Nancy Birdsall, Christian Meyer, Alexis Sowa, 2013. "Global Markets, Global Citizens, and Global Governance in the 21st Century," Working Papers 329, Center for Global Development.
    3. Patrizia Luongo, 2015. "Inequality of opportunity in educational achievements: Cross-country and intertemporal comparisons," WIDER Working Paper Series 043, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. 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.
    5. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.
    6. IBOURK, Aomar & AMAGHOUSS, Jabrane, 2015. "Inequality In Education In The Mena Region: A Macroeconometric Investigation Using Normative Indicators," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 15(2), pages 129-146.
    7. Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2007. "The convergence process of compulsory schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588053, HAL.
    8. João Gabriel Fidalgo & Marta Simões & Adelaide Duarte, 2010. "Mind the Gap: Education Inequality at the Regional Level in Portugal, 1986-2005," Notas Económicas, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, issue 32, pages 22-43, December.
    9. P�ter F�ldv�ri & Bas van Leeuwen, 2011. "Should less inequality in education lead to a more equal income distribution?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 537-554, February.
    10. Crayen, Dorothee & Baten, Joerg, 2010. "Global trends in numeracy 1820-1949 and its implications for long-term growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 82-99, January.
    11. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2008. "Global Trends in Numeracy 1820-1949 and its Implications for Long-Run Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2218, CESifo.
    12. Fabrice Murtin, 2007. "The Structural Change and the Endogeneity Bias of the College Premium in the United States 1968-2001"," Working Papers 2007-14, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    13. Gudrun Østby, 2013. "Inequality and political violence: A review of the literature," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 16(2), pages 206-231, June.
    14. Annim, Samuel Kobina & Dasmani, Isaac, 2010. "The joint effect of human capital and income inequalities on HIV/AIDS prevalence: An exploratory investigation," MPRA Paper 21251, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "The Measurement of Educational Inequality: Achievement and Opportunity," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 28(2), pages 210-246.

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