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International Handbook on the Economics of Education

Edited by Geraint Johnes and Jill Johnes

This major Handbook comprehensively surveys the rapidly growing field of the economics of education. It is unique in that it comprises original contributions on an exceptional range of topics from a review of human capital, signalling and screening models, to consideration of issues such as educational externalities and economic growth, funding models, determinants of educational success, the educational production function, educational standards and efficiency measurement. Labour market issues such as the market for teachers and the transition of students from school to work are also explored.
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Chapter 4: Education and Economic Growth

Philip Stevens and Martin Weale


Philip Stevens and Martin Weale 1 Introduction There are two very basic reasons for expecting to find some link between education and economic growth. First of all at the most general level it is intuitively plausible that living standards have risen so much over the last millennium and in particular since 1800 because of education. Progress of the sort enjoyed in Europe was not observed in the illiterate societies that have gradually merged into the world economy over the last two hundred years. To the most casual observer it must seem that there is a link between scientific advance and the way in which education has facilitated the development of knowledge. Of course the Curies and the Newtons of this world are few and far between. But people with only very limited education often find it difficult to function at all in advanced societies. Education is needed for people to benefit from scientific advance as well as to contribute to it. Secondly, at a more specific level, a wide range of econometric studies indicates that the incomes individuals can command depend on their level of education. If people with education earn more than those without, should not the same be true of countries? If not the rate of change of output per hour worked, at least the level of output per hour worked in a country ought to depend on the educational attainment of the population. If spending on education delivers returns of some sort,...

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