Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan
Chapter 1: Introduction to part I
Is there a relationship between the quantity of schooling and economic development and growth? How can human capital be measured? Can policy on education change the rate of development or are there exogenous pressures that stop growth? These are the sorts of questions addressed by the three chapters written by eminent economists in Part I of this Handbook. In Chapter 2 Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann express some nagging doubts about the policy of raising the school level of the population in developing countries in the belief that this will raise economic wellbeing. This brings into question the whole Education for All initiative and the associated Millennium Development Goals. Issues exist around the inability for some countries to support and provide an effective education programme which might stimulate student outcomes (as illustrated by other chapters in this Handbook). Hanushek and Woessmann highlight other problems with this strategy. However, the main concern here, and the focus of this chapter, is the appropriate measurement of human capital, where much focus has been on the quantity rather than the quality of schooling. The evidence points to the importance of the cognitive skills of a population in order to stimulate economic growth. The chapter starts with a review of research on economic growth, followed by a demonstration that what is needed are a better measurement of human capital in order to understand economic growth rates and the consideration of cognitive skills when modelling cross-country differences in growth.