Has human capital accounted for regional economic growth in italy? a panel analysis on the 1980-2001 period
Since Solow’s (1957) contribution, human capital has a central role in the debate on economic growth as a leading long period development factor. If from a theoretical point of view the role of human capital on economic growth both directly and throughout its use in R&D activities is fully accepted, from an empirical perspective the results are much more controversial, strictly depending on the quality of data. A recent analysis by Aghion and Cohen (2004) put in evidence that high-level human capital has a positive effect on economic performance only if a country is close to the technological frontier: countries that are far from this frontier, specialised in traditional sectors, can growth, almost in the short run, even exploiting medium-level human capital. This analysis lead to consider the link between human capital and growth with a greater detail, trying to disclose the effect of different human capitals in a country, such as Italy, traditionally oriented toward a low/medium technology production. Using, beyond the usual proxies of human capital, some measures of its quality and of its interrelation with R&D sector, we would like to give a new contribution to the analysis of regional growth in Italy in the period 1980-2001. The panel approach, here adopted, allows us to take account of the temporal variability and to check for omitted variable specific for regions and persistent over time.
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