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Education : past, present and future global challenges

  • Patrinos, Harry Anthony
  • Psacharopoulos, George

Progress in educational development in the world since 1900 has been slow and uneven between countries. Providing basic education for all children in developing countries has been and remains an unmet challenge of governments and international organizations alike. This is in sharp contrast to recent findings in the economics literature on the catalytic role of human capital for economic growth and social development in general. Using a newly constructed matched data set on education and national accounts in the 1950 to 2010 period, this paper estimates the loss of income and equity associated with not having a faster rate of human capital accumulation, using alternative methodologies and specific country examples. Such loss is projected backward (1900-1950) and forward (2010-2050) using plausible assumptions regarding what countries could have done in the past or may do in the future to accelerate human capital formation. The findings suggest that the welfare loss in terms of per capita income conservatively ranges from about 7 to 10 percent. Improved educational attainment is also shown to have an effect in reducing income inequality.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5616.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5616
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  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. Godoy, Ricardo & Karlan, Dean S. & Rabindran, Shanti & Huanca, Tomas, 2005. "Do modern forms of human capital matter in primitive economies? Comparative evidence from Bolivia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-53, February.
  3. Lange, Fabian & Topel, Robert, 2006. "The Social Value of Education and Human Capital," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  4. de la Fuente, Angel & Doménech, Rafael, 2000. "Human Capital In Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2466, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Christian Morrisson & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The Century of Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0109, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  8. 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.
  9. Fleisher, Belton M. & Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Returns to Skills and the Speed of Reforms: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, China, and Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 1182, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 07-034, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  11. Norman Gemmell,, . "Evaluating the Impacts of Human Capital Stocks and Accumulation on Economic Growth: Some New Evidence," Discussion Papers 95/17, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
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