Understanding the effects of human capital on economic growth

Papakonstantinou, M. A., 2017, [Groningen]: University of Groningen, SOM research school. 124 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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There is a strong consensus in the literature regarding the importance of education, and therefore human capital, for the economy and society as a whole. Education is highly valued, not only because of its potential to generate monetary returns but also because of the social (non-pecuniary) returns it entails. The core aim of this thesis is to examine the importance of human capital in facilitating faster growth.

First, I depart from the assumption that an hour worked delivers a constant quantity of labor services over time. Instead, new cohorts of graduates may differ from previous ones with respect to the quantity of labor services per hour worked they supply. I find that these human capital vintage effects are important in accounting for the trans-Atlantic productivity growth difference between 1995 and 2005.

Second, I revisit the ability of human capital to bring about externalities by facilitating technological progress and technology adoption. To that end, I relate human capital to total factor productivity growth. I find evidence of externalities stemming from tertiary-educated people and also that these externalities depend on a country’s level of technological development.

Third, I investigate international spill-overs of human capital by analyzing the impact of migration on the home country’s human capital. I find that countries with higher emigration rates of skilled workers show faster growth in knowledge-intensive manufacturing industries. This suggests evidence for ‘brain gain’ rather than ‘brain drain’.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date2-Nov-2017
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-0174-4
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-0173-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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