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Does the Human-Capital/Educational-Sorting Debate Matter for Development Policy?

  • Kevin Lang

If education increases human capital, subsidizing education can generate economic growth and combat poverty. Estimates of its return suggest that education is a good social investment. In sorting models, the return reflects in part the information about productivity revealed by the worker's education. Thus the social and private returns diverge. It might appear that if we believe the sorting model, we should be less swayed by evidence that estimated returns to education exceed the social discount rate, and therefore less likely to support education-based development policies. This conclusion is shown to be incorrect.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4052.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4052.

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Date of creation: Apr 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Economic Review, Vol. 84, no. 1 (1994): 353-358.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4052
Note: LS
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  1. Lang, Kevin, 1987. "Pareto Improving Minimum Wage Laws," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 145-58, January.
  2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "The Theory of 'Screening', Education, and the Distribution of Income," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 354, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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