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Education in Italy: is there any return?

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  • Germana Bottone

    (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses)

Abstract

The “return to education” issue has been widely investigated in the economic literature. However, how the social value of education can affect its economic return and individual decisions on “human capital” investments has been somewhat neglected. The paper criticises the traditional definition of human capital and the premises of Becker’s equation and considers the following questions: does education have a consistent return in Italy? If not, does education have any social value?. From an economic point of view and at a conceptual level, numerous difficulties arise when one seeks to define “human capital”. One may make a list of factors endogenous to an individual, such as education, training and ability, and of factors exogenous to him/her such as level of family education, social capital, system of relations, freedom of knowledge transmission, institutions. All of these factors may affect “human capital”. Moreover, the decision to invest in “human capital” may not be completely rational. Rationality would probably instead suggest on-the-job training and training. Education has a cultural, social and historical value; as a consequence, individuals may make decisions about the proper investment in education not only by considering marginal costs and future benefits of that investment, but for other reasons as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Germana Bottone, 2009. "Education in Italy: is there any return?," ISAE Working Papers 109, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  • Handle: RePEc:isa:wpaper:109
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    File URL: http://lipari.istat.it/digibib/Working_Papers/WP_109_2009_Bottone.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Hwei-Lin Chuang & Hsih-yin Lee, 2003. "The Return on Women's Human Capital and the Role of Male Attitudes Toward Working Wives," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 435-459, April.
    6. Vella, Francis, 1994. "Gender Roles and Human Capital Investment: The Relationship between Traditional Attitudes and Female Labour Market Performance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(242), pages 191-211, May.
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    8. Heckman, James J, 1978. "A Partial Survey of Recent Research on the Labor Supply of Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 200-207, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; bounded rationality; institutional economics.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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