Human Capital Policy
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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.
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Chapter 2: Intergenerational mobility and the role of education in Korea

Hisam Kim


This chapter examines intergenerational social mobility and evaluates the role of education in its rise and fall in Korea. It draws on data from a “Happiness Study” undertaken by the Korea Development Institute, data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) and comparative international data from the Osaka University Global Twenty-first Century Center of Excellence Program. The study explores the growing pessimism among Koreans about their children’s upward mobility, their mobility expectations for the next generation, the growing divide in education and policy directions for enhancing social mobility. The focus on the role of education in the rise and fall of social mobility in this chapter suggests several policy directions. A loss of talent should be prevented by early intervention with pro-mobility education policies. More attention is needed for the less educated, to prevent them from becoming NEETs: the young who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and who have been increasing in proportion to the population. Finally, multiple routes to success must be opened beyond the narrowly defined route through higher education to good jobs. Public resources must be allocated to people who will deploy their talents and energy in pursuit of innovation, production and job creation.

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