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Micro Evidence on Human Capital as the Engine of Growth

  • Trostel, P.A.
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    This study examines a crucial assumption in much of the recent work on endogenous growth, namely, constant returns to scale in the production of human capital. A simple model is constructed to show that the returns to scale in human capital production can be inferred from the relationship between the wage rate and years of schooling. A large international micro dataset is used to estimate this relationship. The empirical evidence is decisive. There are decreasing returns to scale in human capital production; that is, the micro-level evidence is not supportive of endogenous growth driven by human capital accumulation.

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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp555.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 555.

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    Length: 20 pages
    Date of creation: 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:555
    Contact details of provider: Postal: CV4 7AL COVENTRY
    Phone: +44 (0) 2476 523202
    Fax: +44 (0) 2476 523032
    Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/
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    1. Colm Harmon & Ian Walker, 1997. "The Marginal and Average Returns to Schooling," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 97/07, Department of Economics, Keele University.
    2. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," NBER Working Papers 4832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Blinder, Alan S & Weiss, Yoram, 1976. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 449-72, June.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1992. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 495-525, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1996. "Unemployment and increasing private returns to human capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-20, July.
    9. James Heckman & Anne Layne-Farrar & Petra Todd, 1995. "The Schooling Quality-Earnings Relationship: Using Economic Theory to Interpret Functional Forms Consistent with the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. King, Robert G & Rebelo, Sergio, 1990. "Public Policy and Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S126-50, October.
    11. Howard Pack, 1994. "Endogenous Growth Theory: Intellectual Appeal and Empirical Shortcomings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 55-72, Winter.
    12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
    13. Nancy L. Stokey & Sergio Rebelo, 1993. "Growth Effects of Flat-Rate Taxes," NBER Working Papers 4426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. George Psacharopoulos, 1985. "Returns to Education: A Further International Update and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 583-604.
    15. 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.
    16. Groot, Wim & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1994. "Earnings Effects of Different Components of Schooling: Human Capital versus Screening," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 317-21, May.
    17. Haley, William J, 1976. "Estimation of the Earnings Profile from Optimal Human Capital Accumulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1223-38, November.
    18. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-40, November.
    19. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
    20. Wyckoff, James H., 1984. "The nonexcludable publicness of primary and secondary public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, August.
    21. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
    22. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
    23. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E & Rossi, Peter E, 1993. "Optimal Taxation in Models of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 485-517, June.
    24. Benhabib, Jess & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1991. "Externalities and Growth Accounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 82-113, March.
    25. Ellis W. Tallman & Ping Wang, 1990. "Human capital and endogenous growth: evidence from Taiwan," Working Paper 90-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    26. Rosen, Sherwin, 1976. "A Theory of Life Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S45-67, August.
    27. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
    28. Romer, Paul M., 1990. "Human capital and growth: Theory and evidence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 251-286, January.
    29. Levine, Ross & Zervos, Sara J, 1993. "What We Have Learned about Policy and Growth from Cross-Country Regressions?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 426-30, May.
    30. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
    31. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
    32. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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