IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development

  • Eric Hanushek

    ()

    (Hoover Institute, Stanford University)

  • Ludger Woessmann

    ()

    (University of Munich)

The role of improved schooling, a central part of most development strategies, has become controversial because expansion of school attainment has not guaranteed improved economic conditions. This paper reviews the role of cognitive skills in promoting economic well-being, with a particular focus on the role of school quality and quantity. It concludes that there is strong evidence that the cognitive skills of the population – rather than mere school attainment – are powerfully related to individual earnings, to the distribution of income, and to economic growth. New empirical results show the importance of both minimal and high level skills, the complementarity of skills and quality of economic institutions, and robustness of the relationship between skills and growth. International comparisons incorporating expanded data on cognitive skills reveal much larger skill deficits in developing countries than generally derived from just school enrollment and attainment. The magnitude of change needed makes clear that closing the economic gap with developed countries will require major structural changes in schooling institutions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/07-034.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-034.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-034
Contact details of provider: Postal: 366 Galvez Street, Stanford, California 94305-6015
Phone: (650) 725-1874
Fax: (650) 723-8611
Web page: http://siepr.stanford.edu

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. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1993. "Are OLS Estimates of the Return to Schooling Biased Downward? Another Look," NBER Working Papers 4259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. O'Neill, June, 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 25-45, Fall.
  3. Ciccone, Antonio & Papaioannou, Elias, 2006. "Human capital, the structure of production, and growth," Working Paper Series 0623, European Central Bank.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  5. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Alan Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," Working Papers 808, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  11. Wößmann, Ludger, 2003. "Specifying human capital," Munich Reprints in Economics 19660, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  14. De Gregorio, Jose & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2002. "Education and Income Inequality: New Evidence from Cross-Country Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 395-416, September.
  15. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Domenech, 2001. "Schooling Data, Technological Diffusion, and the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 323-327, May.
  16. Temple, Jonathan, 2001. "Growth Effects of Education and Social Capital in the OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  19. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 12832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  21. Behrman, J.R. & Ross, D. & Sabot, R. & Alderman, H., 1995. "The Returns to endogenous Human Capital in Pakistan's Rural Wage Labour Market," Center for Development Economics 141, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  22. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  23. 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.
  24. Eric A. Hanushek & Victor Lavy & Kohtaro Hitomi, 2008. "Do Students Care about School Quality? Determinants of Dropout Behavior in Developing Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 69-105.
  25. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," IPR working papers 97-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  26. Ross Finnie, 2002. "Minorities, Cognitive Skills and Incomes of Canadians," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(2), pages 257-273, June.
  27. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  29. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2001. "Identifying The Role Of Cognitive Ability In Explaining The Level Of And Change In The Return To Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 1-12, February.
  30. Lee, Doo Won & Lee, Tong Hun, 1995. "Human capital and economic growth Tests based on the international evaluation of educational achievement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 219-225, February.
  31. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
  32. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  33. Eric A. Hanushek, 2005. "The Economics of School Quality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 269-286, 08.
  34. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  35. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
  36. Temple, Jonathan & Woessmann, Ludger, 2006. "Dualism and Cross-Country Growth Regressions," CEPR Discussion Papers 5655, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  38. Hanushek, E-A & Rivkin, S-G & Taylor, L-L, 1995. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," RCER Working Papers 397, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  39. 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.
  40. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  41. Boissiere, M & Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1985. "Earnings, Schooling, Ability, and Cognitive Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1016-30, December.
  42. Aghion, Philippe & Meghir, Costas & Vandenbussche, Jérôme, 2005. "Growth, Distance to Frontier and Composition of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  43. Mincer, Jacob, 1970. "The Distribution of Labor Incomes: A Survey with Special Reference to the Human Capital Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, March.
  44. Jolliffe, Dean, 1998. "Skills, Schooling, and Household Income in Ghana," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 81-104, January.
  45. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Poverty and worklessness in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20038, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  46. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  47. Thomas S. Dee, 2003. "Are There Civic Returns to Education?," NBER Working Papers 9588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. Moll, Peter G, 1998. "Primary Schooling, Cognitive Skills and Wages in South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(258), pages 263-84, May.
  49. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "The Failure of Input-based Schooling Policies," NBER Working Papers 9040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Alan Krueger & Orley Ashenfelter, 1992. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," NBER Working Papers 4143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. Blackburn, McKinley L & Neumark, David, 1993. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 521-44, July.
  52. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
  53. Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Educational production in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 445-504, 07.
  54. Coulombe Serge & Tremblay Jean-François, 2006. "Literacy and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-34, August.
  55. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  56. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
  57. Hanushek, Eric A, 1995. "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 227-46, August.
  58. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
  59. Steven McIntosh & Anna Vignoles, 2000. "Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0003, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  60. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  61. E. Gundlach & D. Rudman & L. Wossmann, 2002. "Second thoughts on development accounting," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(11), pages 1359-1369.
  62. Paul M. Romer, 1989. "Human Capital And Growth: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  63. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  64. Behrman, Jere R. & Ross, David & Sabot, Richard, 2008. "Improving quality versus increasing the quantity of schooling: Estimates of rates of return from rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 94-104, February.
  65. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  66. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  67. Jamison, Eliot A. & Jamison, Dean T. & Hanushek, Eric A., 2007. "The effects of education quality on income growth and mortality decline," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 771-788, December.
  68. Jérôme Vandenbussche & Philippe Aghion & Costas Meghir, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 97-127, June.
  69. John W. McArthur & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Institutions and Geography: Comment on Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (2000)," NBER Working Papers 8114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  70. Eric A. Hanushek & Lei Zhang, 2006. "Quality-Consistent Estimates of International Returns to Skill," NBER Working Papers 12664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  71. Amparo Castello & Rafael Domenech, 2002. "Human Capital Inequality and Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C187-C200, March.
  72. Barry P. Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2003. "The Empirics of Growth: An Update," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 113-206.
  73. Barbara Sianesi & John Van Reenen, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 157-200, 04.
  74. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  75. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  76. Glewwe, Paul, 1996. "The relevance of standard estimates of rates of return to schooling for education policy: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 267-290, December.
  77. Heckman, James & Layne-Farrar, Anne & Todd, Petra, 1996. "Human Capital Pricing Equations with an Application to Estimating the Effect of Schooling Quality on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 562-610, November.
  78. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  79. Bishop, John Hillman, 1989. "Is the Test Score Decline Responsible for the Productivity Growth Decline?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 178-97, March.
  80. Yorman Ben-Porath, 1970. "The Production of Human Capital Over Time," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Income, and Human Capital, pages 129-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  81. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  82. Jan Hanousek & Dana Hajkova & Randall K. Filer, 2004. "The Other Side of the Moon: The Data Problem in Analyzing Growth Determinants," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-682, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  83. Gemmell, Norman, 1996. "Evaluating the Impacts of Human Capital Stocks and Accumulation on Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 9-28, February.
  84. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  85. Green, David A. & Craig Riddell, W., 2003. "Literacy and earnings: an investigation of the interaction of cognitive and unobserved skills in earnings generation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 165-184, April.
  86. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  87. Dennis J. Dugan & Dean T. Jamison & Roy Radner, 1976. "Scholastic Achievement: Its Determinants and Effects in the Education Industry," NBER Chapters, in: Education as an Industry, pages 53-94 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  88. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Microeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 115-156, 04.
  89. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, June.
  90. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  91. Paul Glewwe, 2002. "Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 436-482, June.
  92. Lau, Lawrence J. & Jamison, Dean T. & Louat, Frederic F., 1991. "Education and productivity in developing countries : an aggregate production function approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 612, The World Bank.
  93. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  94. 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.
  95. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
  96. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  97. Angrist, Joshua D & Lavy, Victor, 1997. "The Effect of a Change in Language of Instruction on the Returns to Schooling in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S48-76, January.
  98. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  99. Steven G. Rivkin, 1995. "Black/White Differences in Schooling and Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 826-852.
  100. Temple, Jonathan, 1999. "A positive effect of human capital on growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 131-134, October.
  101. Nehru, Vikram & Swanson, Eric & Dubey, Ashutosh, 1995. "A new database on human capital stock in developing and industrial countries: Sources, methodology, and results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 379-401, April.
  102. Hansen, W Lee & Weisbrod, Burton A & Scanlon, William J, 1970. "Schooling and Earnings of Low Achievers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 409-18, June.
  103. Lange, Fabian & Topel, Robert, 2006. "The Social Value of Education and Human Capital," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  104. 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.
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:sip:dpaper:07-034. 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: (Anne Shor)

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.