IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wrk/warwec/1246.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Human Capital and Macro-Economic Development : A Review of the Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Rossi, Federico

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

The role of human capital in facilitating macro-economic development is at the center of both academic and policy debates. Through the lens of a simple aggregate production function, human capital might increase output per capita by directly entering in the production process, incentivising the accumulation of complementary inputs and facilitating the adoption of new technologies. This paper discusses the advantages and limitations of three approaches that have been used to evaluate the empirical importance of these channels: cross-country regressions, development accounting and quantitative models. The key findings in the literature are reviewed, and some of them are replicated using updated data. The bulk of the evidence suggests that human capital is an important determinant of cross-country income gaps, especially when its measurement is broadened to go beyond simple proxies of educational attainment. The paper concludes by highlighting policy implications and promising avenues for future work.

Suggested Citation

  • Rossi, Federico, 2020. "Human Capital and Macro-Economic Development : A Review of the Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1246, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1246
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2020/twerp_1246_-_rossi.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
    2. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    3. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741, Elsevier.
    4. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    5. Ana Hidalgo-Cabrillana & Zoë Kuehn & Cristina Lopez-Mayan, 2017. "Development accounting using PIAAC data," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 373-399, November.
    6. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    7. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    8. Nezih Guner & Andrii Parkhomenko & Gustavo Ventura, 2018. "Managers and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 256-282, July.
    9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007. "Growth and human capital: good data, good results," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
    11. Eric A. Hanushek & Jens Ruhose & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Knowledge Capital and Aggregate Income Differences: Development Accounting for US States," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 184-224, October.
    12. Nicola Gennaioli & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Human Capital and Regional Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(1), pages 105-164.
    13. Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 3-32, Summer.
    14. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    15. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink, 2014. "Disease and Development Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(6), pages 1355-1366.
    16. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    17. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
    18. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian & Todd Schoellman, 2018. "Life-Cycle Human Capital Accumulation across Countries: Lessons from US Immigrants," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 305-342.
    19. Benjamin F. Jones, 2014. "The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3752-3777, November.
    20. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, March.
    21. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    22. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2013. "What explains schooling differences across countries?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 184-202.
    23. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
    24. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 5266, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    25. Marta De Philippis & Federico Rossi, 2021. "Parents, Schools and Human Capital Differences Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 1364-1406.
    26. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    27. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    28. Hoyt Bleakley, 2010. "Health, Human Capital, and Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 283-310, September.
    29. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman & Chloe Puett, 2017. "Big Numbers about Small Children: Estimating the Economic Benefits of Addressing Undernutrition," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 32(1), pages 107-125.
    30. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
    31. Francisco J. Buera & Joseph P. Kaboski & Yongseok Shin, 2011. "Finance and Development: A Tale of Two Sectors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1964-2002, August.
    32. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Age and Experience Profiles of Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 64-82, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    34. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    35. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    36. David Lagakos & Michael E. Waugh, 2013. "Selection, Agriculture, and Cross-Country Productivity Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 948-980, April.
    37. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2009. "Human Capital, the Structure of Production, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 66-82, February.
    38. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    39. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling and Earnings," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 41-63, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Jaimovich, Esteban, 2011. "Sectoral differentiation, allocation of talent, and financial development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 47-60, September.
    41. Flabbi,Luca & Gatti,Roberta V., 2018. "A primer on human capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8309, The World Bank.
    42. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman, 2006. "Reducing the Incidence of Low Birth Weight in Low-Income Countries Has Substantial Economic Benefits," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48.
    43. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    44. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2007. "Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 925-985, December.
    45. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
    46. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
    47. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
    48. 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.
    49. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
    50. Federico Rossi, 2019. "The Relative Efficiency of Skilled Labor across Countries: Measurement and Interpretation," 2019 Meeting Papers 829, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    51. Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), 2005. "Handbook of Economic Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    52. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    53. Alwyn Young, 2005. "The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of AIDS and the Welfare of Future African Generations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 120(2), pages 423-466.
    54. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman & Victor Lavy & Rekha Menon, 2001. "Child Health and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 185-205.
    55. Wößmann, Ludger, 2016. "The Importance of School Systems," Munich Reprints in Economics 43463, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    56. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
    57. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    58. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    59. Marta De Philippis & Federico Rossi, 0. "Parents, Schools and Human Capital Differences Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 1364-1406.
    60. Peter J. Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    61. Balart, Pau & Oosterveen, Matthijs & Webbink, Dinand, 2018. "Test scores, noncognitive skills and economic growth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 134-153.
    62. Nazrul Islam, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-1170.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tansel, Aysit & Öztürk, Ceyhan & Erdil, Erkan, 2021. "The Impact of Body Mass Index on Growth, Schooling, Productivity, and Savings: A Cross-Country Study," IZA Discussion Papers 14727, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Michele Catalano & Emilia Pezzolla, 2022. "Global natural projections," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 949-990, November.
    3. Porzio, Tommaso & Rossi, Federico & Santangelo, Gabriella, 2020. "The Human Side of Structural Transformation," CEPR Discussion Papers 15110, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Remi Jedwab & Paul Romer & Asif M. Islam & Roberto Samaniego, 2023. "Human Capital Accumulation at Work: Estimates for the World and Implications for Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 191-223, July.
    5. Abdulla, Kanat, 2021. "Regional convergence and structural transformation in a resource-dependent country," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 548-557.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Eric A. Hanushek & Jens Ruhose & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Knowledge Capital and Aggregate Income Differences: Development Accounting for US States," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 184-224, October.
    2. Campbell, Susanna G. & Üngör, Murat, 2020. "Revisiting human capital and aggregate income differences," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 43-64.
    3. Jones, C.I., 2016. "The Facts of Economic Growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 3-69, Elsevier.
    4. Remi Jedwab & Paul Romer & Asif M. Islam & Roberto Samaniego, 2023. "Human Capital Accumulation at Work: Estimates for the World and Implications for Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 191-223, July.
    5. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    6. Nicola Gennaioli & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Human Capital and Regional Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(1), pages 105-164.
    7. Gradstein, Mark & Brückner, Markus, 2013. "Income and schooling," CEPR Discussion Papers 9365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Francisco Queiró, 2022. "Entrepreneurial Human Capital and Firm Dynamics [How Large Are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws]," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 89(4), pages 2061-2100.
    9. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian, 2012. "Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting," Working Papers 2012-021, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    10. Eric A. Hanushek & Jens Ruhose & Ludger Woessmann, 2015. "Human Capital Quality and Aggregate Income Differences: Development Accounting for U.S. States," CESifo Working Paper Series 5411, CESifo.
    11. Francisco Queiró, 2018. "Entrepreneurial Human Capital and Firm Dynamics," GEE Papers 00116, Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos, Ministério da Economia, revised Dec 2018.
    12. Schünemann, Johannes & Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Kotschy, Rainer & Prettner, Klaus, 2018. "Health and Economic Growth: Reconciling the Micro and Macro Evidence," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181554, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2014. "Explaining Educational Attainment across Countries and over Time," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 824-841, October.
    14. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian & Todd Schoellman, 2018. "Life-Cycle Human Capital Accumulation across Countries: Lessons from US Immigrants," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 305-342.
    15. Marcelo Soto, 2006. "The Causal Effect of Education on Aggregate Income," Working Papers 0605, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia.
    16. Caselli, Francesco & Ciccone, Antonio, 2013. "The contribution of schooling in development accounting: Results from a nonparametric upper bound," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 199-211.
    17. Lee, Jong-Wha & Lee, Hanol, 2016. "Human capital in the long run," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 147-169.
    18. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2009. "Human Capital, the Structure of Production, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 66-82, February.
    19. Slichter, David & Taveras, Elisa & Monge, Daniela, 2021. "The Skills of Rich and Poor Country Workers," MPRA Paper 106050, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Zhang, Xiaobei & Wang, Xiaojun, 2021. "Measures of human capital and the mechanics of economic growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital ; Development ; Growth JEL codes: E24 ; O11 ; O47 ; I25;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1246. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Margaret Nash (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dewaruk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.