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Enhancing Portugal's Human Capital


  • Stéphanie Guichard
  • Bénédicte Larre


The lack of human capital in Portugal has become a key obstacle to higher growth. This paper discusses the performance of education and training services in Portugal and shows that improvements are needed to narrow the significant human capital gap with other OECD countries. Despite progress in the past decades, Portuguese children spend comparatively few years in formal education, and they do not perform as well as children from other OECD countries. Adults, especially the least educated, do not participate enough in lifelong learning and training programmes. This situation does not stem from a lack of resources devoted to education and training but from inefficiencies and misallocation of spending, and weaknesses in the quality of the services that compound the low starting point of Portugal regarding education. Modernizing the Portuguese economy therefore requires a broad reform which increases human capital at all levels. The ongoing efforts of the authorities in the three areas - basic and upper secondary education, tertiary education and adult training - go in the right direction but implementation remains a challenge. Accroître le capital humain au Portugal L'insuffisance du capital humain au Portugal est devenue un des obstacles clé à une croissance plus forte. Ce papier discute la performance des services éducatifs et de formation des adultes au Portugal et montre que, pour réduire significativement le retard en terme de capital humain vis-à-vis des autres pays de l'OCDE, ces services doivent être améliorés. En dépit des progrès accomplis au cours des dernières décennies, les jeunes Portugais passent relativement peu d'années dans le système éducatif et n'obtiennent pas d'aussi bons résultats que les jeunes des autres pays de l'OCDE. Les adultes, et en particulier les moins éduqués, ne participent pas suffisamment aux activités de formation tout au long de la vie. Cette situation ne tient pas à une insuffisance des ressources consacrées à l'éducation, mais à un manque d'efficience, à une mauvaise affectation des dépenses et à une mauvaise qualité des services éducatifs qui viennent amplifier le retard initial dont souffre déjà le Portugal sur le plan de l'éducation. La modernisation de l'économie portugaise requiert donc une réforme de grande ampleur qui accroisse le capital humain à tous les niveaux. Les efforts actuels des autorités dans les domaines de l'éducation primaire et secondaire, de l'éducation tertiaire et de la formation des adultes vont dans la bonne direction, mais leur mise en oeuvre est un défi.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphanie Guichard & Bénédicte Larre, 2006. "Enhancing Portugal's Human Capital," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 505, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:505-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    adult training; capital humain; education; formation des adultes; human capital; Portugal; Portugal; éducation;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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