IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time

  • Diego Restuccia
  • Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Consider the following facts. In 1950 the richest ten-percent of countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest ten-percent of countries attained 1.3 years, a 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold. The fact is that schooling has increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We develop an otherwise standard model of human capital accumulation with two important features: non-homothetic preferences and an operating labor supply margin. We use the model to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy differences across countries in explaining educational attainment. Calibrating the parameters of the model to reproduce the historical time-series data for the United States, we find that the model accounts for 90 percent of the difference in schooling levels between rich and poor countries in 1950 and 64 percent of the increase in schooling over time in poor countries. The model generates a faster increase in schooling in poor than in rich countries consistent with the data. These results highlight the importance of productivity and development in education, emphasizing the crucial role of productivity improvements in poor countries relative to often-discussed educational policies.

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: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-505.pdf
File Function: Main Text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-505.

as
in new window

Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 21 Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-505
Contact details of provider: Postal:
150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario

Phone: (416) 978-5283

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. Jeremy Greenwood, 2003. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Annual Meeting Plenary 2003-2, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Marla Ripoll, 2011. "What Explains Schooling Differences Across Countries?," Working Papers 2011-028, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia & Andres Erosa, 2007. "How Important is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," 2007 Meeting Papers 782, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Maddison, Angus, 1987. "Growth and Slowdown in Advanced Capitalist Economies: Techniques of Quantitative Assessment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 649-698, June.
  6. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 349-397.
  7. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
  8. Margarida Duarte & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "The Role of the Structural Transformation in Aggregate Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 129-173.
  9. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
  10. Kongsamut, P. & Rebelo, S. & Xie, D., 1997. "Beyong Balanced Growth," RCER Working Papers 438, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. 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 352-352.
  12. Atkeson, A. & Ogaki, M., 1991. "Wealth-Varying Intertemporal Elasticities of Substitution Evidence from Panel and Aggregate Data," RCER Working Papers 303, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, Enero.
  14. 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.
  15. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  16. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9-9.
  17. Markusen, James R., 2010. "Putting Per-Capita Income back into Trade Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 7790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. 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, 08.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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, 04.
  21. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
  22. Huberman, Michael & Minns, Chris, 2007. "The times they are not changin': Days and hours of work in Old and New Worlds, 1870-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 538-567, October.
  23. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2004. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 9, Econometric Society.
  26. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  27. Douglas Gollin & Stephen Parente & Richard Rogerson, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 160-164, May.
  28. Alan S. Blinder & Yoram Weiss, 1975. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," NBER Working Papers 0067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2009. "A quantitative analysis of the evolution of the U.S. wage distribution, 1970-2000," Staff Report 427, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  30. 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.
  31. Ellen R. McGrattan & Richard Rogerson, 2004. "Changes in hours worked, 1950?2000," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 14-33.
  32. Donghoon Lee & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2006. "Accounting for Wage and Employment Changes in the U.S. from 1968-2000: A Dynamic Model of Labor Market Equilibrium," 2006 Meeting Papers 172, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  33. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "A Century Of Human Capital And Hours," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1849-1866, 07.
  34. Ellen R. McGrattan & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1995. "An equilibrium model of the business cycle with household production and fiscal policy," Staff Report 191, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  35. Michael Huberman & Frank Lewis, 2007. "Bend it like Beckham: Hours and Wages across Forty-Eight Countries in 1900," Working Papers 1229, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  36. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
  37. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  38. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Age and Experience Profiles of Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 64-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, Enero.
  40. Ogaki, Masao, 1992. "Engel's Law and Cointegration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 1027-1046, October.
  41. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
  42. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
  43. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
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:tor:tecipa:tecipa-505. 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: (RePEc Maintainer)

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.