IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Schooling, educational achievement, and the Latin American growth puzzle

  • Hanushek, Eric A.
  • Wößmann, Ludger

Latin American economic development has been perceived as a puzzle. The region has trailed most other world regions over the past half century despite relatively high initial development and school attainment levels. This puzzle, however, can be resolved by considering educational achievement, a direct measure of human capital. We introduce a new, more inclusive achievement measure that comes from splicing regional achievement tests into worldwide tests. In growth regressions, the positive growth effect of educational achievement fully accounts for the poor growth performance of Latin American countries. These results are confirmed in a number of instrumental-variable specifications that exploit plausibly exogenous achievement variation stemming from historical and institutional determinants of educational achievement. Finally, a development accounting analysis finds that, once educational achievement is included, human capital can account for between half and two thirds of the income differences between Latin America and the rest of the world.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20399.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Development Economics 2 99(2012): pp. 497-512
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20399
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstr. 28, 80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-3405
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3510
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jere R. Behrman & Nancy Birdsall & Miguel Székely, 2007. "Economic Policy Changes and Wage Differentials in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 57-97.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Discussion Papers in Economics 1366, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Topel, Robert, 1999. "Labor markets and economic growth," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 44, pages 2943-2984 Elsevier.
  5. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 07-034, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
  7. Gordon H. Hanson, 2010. "Why Isn't Mexico Rich?," NBER Working Papers 16470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741 Elsevier.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hanushek, Eric A., 2002. "Publicly provided education," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 30, pages 2045-2141 Elsevier.
  12. Andrews, Donald W.K. & Moreira, Marcelo J. & Stock, James H., 2007. "Performance of conditional Wald tests in IV regression with weak instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 116-132, July.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, . "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1593-1660.
  16. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Pritchett, Lant, 2006. "Does Learning to Add up Add up? The Returns to Schooling in Aggregate Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  19. Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, 07.
  20. Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "'Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School': Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition and Student Achievement across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages F229-F255, 08.
  21. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance J. & Todd, Petra E., 2006. "Earnings Functions, Rates of Return and Treatment Effects: The Mincer Equation and Beyond," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  22. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  23. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4576, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Jess Benhabib & Mark M. Spiegel, 2002. "Human capital and technology diffusion," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  25. Hanushek, Eric A., 2011. "The economic value of higher teacher quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 466-479, June.
  26. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
  27. Cole, Harold L. & Ohanian, Lee E. & Riascos, Alvaro & Schmitz, James Jr, 2005. "Latin America in the rearview mirror," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 69-107, January.
  28. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2011. "Sample selectivity and the validity of international student achievement tests in economic research," Munich Reprints in Economics 20401, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  29. Peter Dolton & Oscar D. Marcenaro‐Gutierrez, 2011. "If you pay peanuts do you get monkeys? A cross‐country analysis of teacher pay and pupil performance," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(01), pages 5-55, January.
  30. Ciccone, Antonio & Papaioannou, Elias, 2006. "Human capital, the structure of production, and growth," Working Paper Series 0623, European Central Bank.
  31. Gundlach, Erich & Rudman, Desmond & Wößmann, Ludger, 1998. "Second thoughts on development accounting," Kiel Working Papers 895, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  32. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman & Guido Kuersteiner, 2004. "Estimation with weak instruments: Accuracy of higher-order bias and MSE approximations," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 272-306, 06.
  33. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  34. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2010. "Development Accounting," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 207-23, January.
  35. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
  36. Eric A. Hanushek & Lei Zhang, 2009. "Quality-Consistent Estimates of International Schooling and Skill Gradients," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 107-143.
  37. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S184-S224, December.
  38. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2010. "Why have economic reforms in Mexico not generated growth?," Staff Report 453, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  39. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
  40. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
  41. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  42. Fuller, Wayne A, 1977. "Some Properties of a Modification of the Limited Information Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 939-53, May.
  43. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  44. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
  45. Eric A. Hanushek & Steven G. Rivkin, 2010. "Generalizations about Using Value-Added Measures of Teacher Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 267-71, May.
  46. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  47. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20399. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Tamilla Benkelberg)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.