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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. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
  2. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
  3. Christian Morrison & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "The century of education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51583, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Donénech, 2000. "Human Capital in Growth Regressions: How much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 262, OECD Publishing.
  7. Johnson, Paul & Durlauf, Steven N & Temple, Johnathan R. W., 2004. "Growth Econometrics," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 61, Vassar College Department of Economics.
    • Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  8. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Lal, Deepak & Myint, H., 1998. "The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth: A Comparative Study," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294320, March.
  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.
  12. Belton M. Fleisher & Klara Sabirianova Peter & Xiaojun Wang, 2004. "Returns to Skills and the Speed of Reforms: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, China, and Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-703, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  13. Jolliffe, Dean, 1998. "Skills, Schooling, and Household Income in Ghana," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 81-104, January.
  14. Lange, Fabian & Topel, Robert, 2006. "The Social Value of Education and Human Capital," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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