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Skill and Cross-National Economic Performance

Author

Listed:
  • Florida, Richard

    (Martin Prosperity Institute)

  • Mellander, Charlotta

    () (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

Abstract

The role of human capital in shaping cross-national economic performance is well-understood. But human capital is an indirect measure of skill, based on educational attainment. We introduce and test a more direct measure of skill, based on work that is actually performed, measured by occupation. Recent empirical studies have shown that such occupational “classes” play an important role in regional economic performance, out-performing human capital in some cases. We develop a measure of occupational skill and examine its relation to in cross-national economic performance. We explicitly compare this measure to conventional measures of human capital (based on educational attainment) through formal models of economic performance for 55 to 78 countries, using three measures of economic performance – economic output (GDP per capita), productivity (total factor productivity) and innovative performance (patents). The results confirm the hypothesis, indicating that our occupation-based measure closely is associated with all three measures of economic performance and also that it consistently performs better than human capital in these models.

Suggested Citation

  • Florida, Richard & Mellander, Charlotta, 2010. "Skill and Cross-National Economic Performance," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 220, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0220
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    2. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
    4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    5. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    skills; creativity; productivity; growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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