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The Human-Capital Century and American Leadership: Virtues of the Past

  • Goldin, Claudia

The modern concept of the wealth of nations emerged by the early twentieth century. Capital embodied in people—human capital—mattered. The United States led all nations in mass postelementary education during the “human-capital century.†The American system of education was shaped by New World endowments and Republican ideology and was characterized by virtues including publicly funded mass education that was open and forgiving, academic yet practical, secular, gender neutral, and funded and controlled by small districts. The American educational template was a remarkable success, but recent educational concerns and policy have redefined some of its “virtues†as “vices.â€

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2624681.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Publication status: Published in The Journal of Economic History
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2624681
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 7444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709, March.
  3. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Ability-Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 469-497, May.
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