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A Century of Human Capital and Hours

Author

Listed:
  • Diego Restuccia
  • Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Abstract

An average person born in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century completed 7 years of schooling and spent 58 hours a week working in the market. By contrast, an average person born at the end of the twentieth century completed 14 years of schooling and spent 40 hours a week working. In the span of 100 years, completed years of schooling doubled and working hours decreased by 30 percent. What explains these trends? We consider a model of human capital and labor supply to quantitatively assess the contribution of exogenous variations in productivity (wage) and life expectancy in accounting for the secular trends in educational attainment and hours of work. We find that the observed increase in wages and life expectancy account for 80 percent of the increase in years of schooling and 88 percent of the reduction in hours of work. Rising wages alone account for 75 percent of the increase in schooling and almost all the decrease in hours in the model, whereas rising life expectancy alone accounts for 25 percent of the increase in schooling and almost none of the decrease in hours of work.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2012. "A Century of Human Capital and Hours," Working Papers tecipa-450, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-450
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
    2. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    3. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "The Evolution Of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 915-936, August.
    4. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    5. Piyabha Kongsamut & Sergio Rebelo & Danyang Xie, 2001. "Beyond Balanced Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 869-882.
    6. Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 235-259, April.
    7. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, June.
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    11. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked (Long-Run Trends)," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 10, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    12. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    13. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
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    16. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
    17. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
    18. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. A Century of Human Capital and Hours
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2012-04-01 21:01:14

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    Cited by:

    1. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    2. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    3. Sánchez-Romero, Miguel & d׳Albis, Hippolyte & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2016. "Education, lifetime labor supply, and longevity improvements," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 118-141.
    4. Edgar Cruz & Xavier Raurich, 2018. "Leisure Time and the Sectoral Composition of Employment," UB Economics Working Papers 2018/373, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    5. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2017. "The Genesis of the Golden Age: Accounting for the Rise in Health and Leisure," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 132-151, March.
    6. Holger Strulik & Katharina Werner, 2016. "50 is the new 30—long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 165-187, June.
    7. repec:spr:series:v:9:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13209-017-0164-y is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:eecrev:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:169-187 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Schooling; hours of work; productivity; life expectancy; trends; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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