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  • Series: KDI/EWC series on Economic Policy x
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Jaehoon Kim

This study examines measures to enhance the competitiveness of Korean universities and to respond to the decline in the school-age population and the problems of the rapidly increased number of universities in the country. It examines the academic achievements made by Korean universities and the changing regulations under which Korean universities can be established. It analyzes the impacts of the expanded university system and the possibilities of adopting quasi-market competition for research funding and students, which has been a foundation for success elsewhere.

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Susan M. Dynarski

This chapter provides an economic perspective on policy issues related to student debt in the United States. It lays out the economic rationale for government provision of student loans and summarizes time trends in student borrowing. It describes the structure of the US loan market, which is a joint venture of the public and private sectors and then turns to three topics that are central to the policy discussion of student loans: whether there is a student debt crisis, the costs and benefits of interest subsidies, and the suitability of an income-based repayment system for student loans in the US. It discusses the gaps in the data required to fully analyze and steer student-loan policy.

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Sungmin Han

The aim of this study is to improve a college loan program in Korea by investigating an impact of the program. It considers a simple theoretical model to compare each level of human capital investment among various financial aid programs. It estimates the effect of the program on students’ academic achievements and the characteristics of defaulters. Empirical results suggest that the recipients of the government’s Income Contingent Loan (ICL)program show better academic performance than recipients of the General Student Loan (GSL) program. With regard to default, the probability of delinquency of students who receive a loan for living expenses and tuition becomes higher than that of students who receive a loan for tuition. These findings suggest that the ICL program is more effective in reducing the student’s financial burden, and the repayment system should be improved. Nonetheless, a rapid change of the GSL to the ICL may cause a financial burden to the government budget. Thus, a gradual change of student loan policy is required.

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Flávio Cunha

This study reviews the literature on socio-economic inequality in investments in children. The evidence is consistent with a model in which parents are subjectively rational, but although parents act to maximize a well-defined objective function, they may not have up-to-date information on how to invest in their children. The informational constraints have implications for the types of policies that can be adopted in order to reduce the investment gap in children. Preliminary evidence from small randomized controlled trials is suggestive of promising programs that can substantially improve parental investments and child welfare. The findings provide useful guidance for the design of new policies that can close the human capital gap that opens up long before children reach school.

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Julian R. Betts

This chapter provide an overview of charter schools, their history, growth and impact academically, the characteristics of the students enrolled, their neighborhoods, and whether and how they may affect public schools. It suggests that researchers and policy-makers work together so that districts and other organizations overseeing charter schools begin to use student value-added measures to evaluate charter schools.

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Yoonsoo Park

This study evaluates the effect of attending autonomous private high schools in Korea on educational outcomes such as achievement test scores and satisfaction levels of students. Using birth order of students as an instrumental variable for their school choice, it finds some evidence showing that autonomous private high schools are more effective in providing greater levels of student satisfaction than regular high schools. However, it finds little evidence of an effect on achievement test scores.

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Harry J. Holzer

This chapter reviews recent empirical evidence on skill-building among low-income youth and adults in the United States. It focuses on skills and credentials that are well-rewarded in the labor market and the different means of attaining them. It reviews benefits and limitations of college attendance for disadvantaged youth and adults. It also considers alternatives to higher education (high-quality career and technical education, models of work-based learning and sectoral training for youth or adults. A caveat is that good post-secondary education and workforce programs will mostly not make up for poor K-12 academic preparation. The need for other policies to strengthen early education outcomes, or to provide incentives to and assist workers whose skills will remain very poor, remains in effect.

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WooRam Park

This chapter examines the effect of human capital on technology intensity in the manufacturing sector among OECD countries. It explores the heterogeneous effect of educational attainment by education level. Using OECD data, it does not find a significant impact of human capital on technology intensity in the manufacturing sector. Both improvement and the initial level of human capital seem to have a limited effect on the share regarding value-added and employment of technology intensive industries among the entire manufacturing sector.

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Yong-seong Kim

Intra-generational mobility has a profound impact on social cohesion as well as on the well-being of the next generations. Focusing on the trends of income mobility, this chapter finds that income in Korea became less mobile during 2001-11. Income mobility, which used to be higher for the “less educated” than the the “more educated” in the early 2000s, has sharply declined. A decomposition approach shows that income inequality is driven by the permanent component, as opposed to the transitory one, making it harder for income to be mobile.

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Human Capital Policy

Reducing Inequality, Boosting Mobility and Productivity

Edited by David Neumark, Yong-seong Kim and Sang-Hyop Lee

This timely book evaluates international human capital policies, offering a comparative perspective on global efforts to generate new ideas and novel ways of thinking about human capital. Examining educational reforms, quality of education and links between education and socio-economic environments, chapters contrast Western experiences and perspectives with those of industrializing economies in Asia, focusing particularly on Korea and the USA.