Human Capital Over the Life Cycle

Human Capital Over the Life Cycle

A European Perspective

Edited by Catherine Sofer

Human Capital Over the Life Cycle synthesises comparative research on the processes of human capital formation in the areas of education and training in Europe, in relation to the labour market. The book proposes that one of the most important challenges faced by Europe today is to understand the link between education and training on the one hand and economic and social inequality on the other. The authors focus the analysis on three main aspects of the links between education and social inequality: educational inequality, differences in access to labour markets and differences in lifelong earnings and training.


Catherine Sofer

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of education, labour economics, education, economics of education


Catherine Sofer* The objective of this book is to synthesize a wide range of research findings from a European research project ‘Schooling, Training and Transitions (STT)’,1 organized and funded within the Targeted Socio-Economic Research Programme of the European Union. At the Lisbon Summit in 2000, the European Council defined an ambitious ten-year strategy to make the European Union ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’.2 Subsequent monitoring has revealed only limited success in implementing certain key elements within this strategy, particularly in the sphere of lifelong learning. The process of equipping all of Europe’s potential workforce with the skills, knowledge and expertise to enable them to contribute to economic growth and combat social exclusion represents a key area where substantial progress remains to be achieved. A major reason for this disappointing progress lies in our limited knowledge of the nature and diversity of the education and training systems within the European Union and their interactions with the economies of the member states. To improve our understanding of the way these systems operate, a group of economists was constituted to conduct comparative research on the processes of human capital formation in the European education and training area and to study the interactions between these processes and the labour market. This group, of which I was the coordinator, worked together from 1997 to the end of 1999 to explore these issues. Adopting...