Where has all the education gone?
Cross-national data on economic growth rates show that increases in educational capital resulting from improvements in the educational attainment of the labor force have had no positive impact on the growth rate of output per worker. In fact, contends the author, the estimated impact of growth of human capital on conventional nonregression growth accounting measures of total factor productivity is large, strongly significant, and negative. Needless to say, this at least appears to contradict the current conventional wisdom in development circles about education's importance for growth. After establishing that this negative result about the education-growth linkage is robust, credible, and consistent with previous literature, the author explores three possible explanations that reconcile the abundant evidence about wage gains from schooling for individuals with the lack of schooling impact on aggregate growth: 1) that schooling creates no human capital. Schooling may not actually raise cognitive skills or productivity but schooling may nevertheless raise the private wage because to employers it signals a positive characteristic like ambition or innate ability; 2) that the marginal returns toeducation are falling rapidly where demand for educated labor is stagnant. Expanding the supply of educated labor where there is stagnant demand for it causes the rate of return to education to fall rapidly, particularly where the sluggish demand is due to limited adoption of innovations; and 3) that the institutional environments in many countries have been sufficiently perverse that the human capital accumulated has been applied to activities that served to reduce economic growth. In other words, possibly education does raise productivity, and there is demand for this more productive educated labor, but demand for educated labor comes from individually remunerative but socially wasteful or counterproductive activities - a bloated bureaucracy, for example, or overmanned state enterprises in countries where the government is the employer of last resort - so that while individuals'wages go up with education, output stagnates, or even falls.
|Date of creation:||31 Mar 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
- 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.
- Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
- Michael Spence, 1976. "Competition in Salaries, Credentials, and Signaling Prerequisites for Jobs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 51-74.
- Dan Ben-David & David H. Papell, 1994.
"The Great Wars, The Great Crash, and the Unit Root Hypothesis: Some New Evidence About an Old Stylized Fact,"
NBER Working Papers
4752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ben-David, Dan & Papell, David, 1994. "The Great Wars, the Great Crash, and the Unit Root Hypothesis: Some New Evidence About An Old Stylized Fact," CEPR Discussion Papers 965, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Barro, R.J., 1989.
"Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries,"
RCER Working Papers
201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, .
"Equipment Investment and Economic Growth,"
J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers
_122, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
- Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991.
"The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
- Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," Scholarly Articles 27692664, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implicationsfor Growth," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 65, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- 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.
- Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
- Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993.
"International Comparisons of Educational Attainment,"
NBER Working Papers
4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
- Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
- Orazem, Peter & Vodopivec, Milan, 1995.
"Winners and Losers in Transition: Returns to Education, Experience, and Gender in Slovenia,"
Staff General Research Papers Archive
5270, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Orazem, Peter F & Vodopivec, Milan, 1995. "Winners and Losers in Transition: Returns to Education, Experience, and Gender in Slovenia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 201-30, May.
- Orazem, Peter F. & Vodopivec, Milan, 1994. "Winners and losers in transition : returns to education, experience, and gender in Slovenia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1342, The World Bank.
- 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.
- Schultz, T. Paul, 1988. "Education investments and returns," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 543-630 Elsevier.
- 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.
- Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-73, December.
- Gersovitz, Mark & Paxson, Christina H, 1996. "The Revenues and Expenditures of African Governments: Modalities and Consequences," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 5(2), pages 199-227, June.
- Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1994. "Caveat emptor: Cross-country data on education and the labor force," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 147-171, June.
- Eric A. Hanushek, .
"Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries,"
Wallis Working Papers
WP3, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
- 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.
- Dasgupta, Partha & Weale, Martin, 1992. "On measuring the quality of life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 119-131, January.
- William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993.
"Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks,"
NBER Working Papers
4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
- Mark M. Spiegel, 1994. "Determinants of long-run labor productivity growth: a selective survey with some new empirical results," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Weale, Martin, 1992. "Education, externalities, fertility, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1039, The World Bank.
- Sala-i-Martin, X. & Mulligan, C.B., 1994. "A Labor-Income-Based Measure of the Value of Human Capital : An Application to the United States," Papers 722, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1581. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.