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Does Education Matter for Economic Growth?

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  • Delgado, Michael S.

    () (Purdue University)

  • Henderson, Daniel J.

    () (University of Alabama)

  • Parmeter, Christopher F.

    () (University of Miami)

Abstract

Empirical growth regressions typically include mean years of schooling as a proxy for human capital. However, empirical research often finds that the sign and significance of schooling depends on the sample of observations or the specification of the model. We use a nonparametric local-linear regression estimator and a nonparametric variable relevance test to conduct a rigorous and systematic search for significance of mean years of schooling by examining five of the most comprehensive schooling databases. Contrary to a few recent papers that have identified significant nonlinearities between education and growth, our results suggest that mean years of schooling is not a statistically relevant variable in growth regressions. However, we do find evidence (within a cross-sectional framework), that educational achievement, measured by mean test scores, may provide a more reliable measure of human capital than mean years of schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Delgado, Michael S. & Henderson, Daniel J. & Parmeter, Christopher F., 2012. "Does Education Matter for Economic Growth?," IZA Discussion Papers 7089, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7089
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    significance testing; mean years of schooling; human capital; irrelevant variables; nonparametric;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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