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Stuck in the middle ? human capital development and economic growth in Malaysia and Thailand

  • Jimenez, Emmanuel
  • Nguyen, Vy
  • Patrinos, Harry Anthony

The challenge of sustaining economic growth over the long term is one that only a few countries have been able to surmount. Slowing momentum in countries like Malaysia and Thailand has led analysts and policy makers to consider what it would take to lift them out of middle-income status, where other countries have arguably become stuck. The paper examines the role of human capital formation in the quest to sustain economic growth in these two countries. It argues that a good education system is fundamental to equip workers with marketable skills. Malaysia and Thailand have successfully expanded access to schooling, but the quality of education remains an issue. Modern education systems should aim to provide universally-available quality education using the following policies: prioritize budgets to deliver quality and universally-available basic education before expanding higher levels of schooling; provide appropriate incentives and rewards to teachers; permit school autonomy and ensure accountability for results; invest in early childhood development; and consider implementing income-contingent loan financing schemes to expand higher education.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6283.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6283
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  1. Commission on Growth and Development, 2008. "The Growth Report : Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6507.
  2. Bruce Chapman, 2005. "Income Contingent Loans for Higher Education: International Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 491, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. World Bank, 2012. "Learning Outcomes in Thailand : What Can We Learn from International Assessments?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2723, The World Bank.
  4. Hawley, Joshua D., 2004. "Changing returns to education in times of prosperity and crisis, Thailand 1985-1998," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 273-286, June.
  5. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
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  7. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2007. "What is Middle Class about the Middle Classes Around the World?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6613, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Chapman, B., 1996. "Conceptual Issues and the Australian Experience with Income Contingent Charges for Higher Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 350, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  9. 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.
  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. Easterly, William, 2001. " The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-35, December.
  12. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  13. Ismail, Ramlee, 2007. "The Impact of Schooling Reform on Returns to Education in Malaysia," MPRA Paper 15021, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Jan 2008.
  14. Dynarski, Mark, 1994. "Who defaults on student loans? Findings from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 55-68, March.
  15. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  16. Bruce Chapman & David Greenaway, 2006. "Learning to Live with Loans? International Policy Transfer and the Funding of Higher Education," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1057-1075, 08.
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