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Columbia or High School? Understanding the Roles of Education in Development

  • Rodney Ramcharan

No country has achieved sustained economic development without investment in education. Thus, education policy can play a vital role in facilitating development. But which types of schooling-secondary or tertiary-should public policy promote? This paper develops an analytical framework to address this question. It shows how the composition of human capital stock determines a country''s development. Hence, promoting the "wrong" type of schooling can have little effect on development. In addition to identifying some characteristics of an optimal education policy, the paper helps in understanding why empirical studies have failed to find a significant relationship between schooling and growth.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 02/36.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/36
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  1. Nancy L. Stokey, 1990. "Human Capital, Product Quality, and Growth," Discussion Papers 883, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  3. Mulligan, Casey B & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1995. "Measuring Aggregate Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 1149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-50, May.
  7. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. " The Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 93-124, March.
  8. Richard B. Freeman & David L. Lindauer, 1999. "Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 6942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Lau, Lawrence J. & Jamison, Dean T. & Louat, Frederic F., 1991. "Education and productivity in developing countries : an aggregate production function approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 612, The World Bank.
  11. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  12. Wozniak, Gregory D, 1984. "The Adoption of Interrelated Innovations: A Human Capital Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 70-79, February.
  13. Miyagiwa, Kaz, 1991. "Scale Economies in Education and the Brain Drain Problem," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 743-59, August.
  14. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  15. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
  16. Mingat, Alain & Jee-Peng Tan, 1998. "The mechanics of progress in education : evidence from cross-country data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2015, The World Bank.
  17. Bennell, Paul, 1996. "Rates of return to education: Does the conventional pattern prevail in sub-Saharan Africa?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 183-199, January.
  18. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
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