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The Fading Productivity of Schooling in East Asia

  • Erich Gundlach
  • Ludger Wößmann

We compare changes in schooling output and in schooling input of six East Asian countries to derive a measure of productivity change. Our results question the impression that all is well with education in East Asia. First, we find that the cognitive achievement of pupils did not change substantially in 1980–94 (except for the Philippines, where it most likely declined). Hence schooling output largely remained flat or worsened. Second, we find that the relative price of schooling increased by more than would be warranted by zero productivity growth in schooling. Therefore, we conclude that schooling productivity has declined. The main reason for the fading productivity of schooling appears to be a decline in the pupil-teacher ratio.

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File URL: https://www.ifw-kiel.de/pub/kap?selectedYear=1999
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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 945.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:945
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  1. Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
  2. Mingat, Alain, 1998. "The strategy used by high-performing Asian economies in education: Some lessons for developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 695-715, April.
  3. Jong-Wha Lee & Robert J. Barro, 1997. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 6198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Erich Gundlach & Ludger Wößmann & Jens Gmelin, 1999. "The Decline of Schooling Productivity in OECD Countries," Kiel Working Papers 926, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
  6. Behrman, Jere R., 1999. "Schooling in Asia: Selected microevidence on determinants, effects, and policy implications," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 147-194.
  7. Rao, M. Govinda, 1998. "Accommodating public expenditure policies: the case of fast growing Asian economies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 673-694, April.
  8. Pritchett, Lant & Filmer, Deon, 1999. "What education production functions really show: a positive theory of education expenditures," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 223-239, April.
  9. Quibria, M. G., 1999. "Challenges to human resource development in Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 431-444.
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