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. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Eric A. Hanushek, . "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," Wallis Working Papers WP3, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2000. "Identifying the Role of Cognitive Ability in Explaining the Level of and Change in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
  12. 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.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "The Role of School Improvement in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 12832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Hanushek, Eric A & Rivkin, Steven G & Taylor, Lori L, 1996. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 611-27, November.
  19. 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.
  20. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
  22. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Paul M. Romer, 1989. "Human Capital And Growth: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Jonathan Temple, 2000. "Growth Effects of Education and Social Capital in the OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 263, OECD Publishing.
  30. Ciccone, Antonio & Papaioannou, Elias, 2006. "Human capital, the structure of production, and growth," Working Paper Series 0623, European Central Bank.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Barbara Sianesi & John Van Reenen, 2003. "The Returns to Education: Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(2), pages 157-200, 04.
  34. 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.
  35. Temple, Jonathan, 1999. "A positive effect of human capital on growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 131-134, October.
  36. McIntosh, Steven & Vignoles, Anna, 2001. "Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 453-81, July.
  37. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Ludger Woszmann, 2003. "Specifying Human Capital," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 239-270, 07.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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..
  45. 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.
  46. Eric A. Hanushek, 2003. "The Failure of Input-Based Schooling Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F64-F98, February.
  47. 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.
  48. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. 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.
  50. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  51. 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.
  52. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. Dee, Thomas S., 2004. "Are there civic returns to education?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1697-1720, August.
  58. 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.
  59. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Poverty And Worklessness In Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C1-C25, 03.
  60. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Educational production in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 445-504, 07.
  67. 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.
  68. Jolliffe, Dean, 1998. "Skills, Schooling, and Household Income in Ghana," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 81-104, January.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. John Temple & Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "Dualism and cross-country growth regressions," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 04/560, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  74. Lange, Fabian & Topel, Robert, 2006. "The Social Value of Education and Human Capital," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  75. Eric A. Hanushek, 2005. "The Economics of School Quality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 269-286, 08.
  76. 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.
  77. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 1997. "Employer learning and statistical discrimination," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. Coulombe Serge & Tremblay Jean-François, 2006. "Literacy and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-34, August.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. E. Gundlach & D. Rudman & L. Wossmann, 2002. "Second thoughts on development accounting," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(11), pages 1359-1369.
  90. 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.
  91. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  92. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. Eric A. Hanushek & Lei Zhang, 2006. "Quality-Consistent Estimates of International Returns to Skill," NBER Working Papers 12664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  100. 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.
  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. 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.
  103. 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.
  104. Ross Finnie, 2002. "Minorities, Cognitive Skills and Incomes of Canadians," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(2), pages 257-273, June.
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.