Understanding the effects of human capital on economic growth

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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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’.
Translated title of the contributionHet begrijpen van de effecten van menselijk kapitaal op economische groei
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Timmer, Marcel, Supervisor
  • Inklaar, Robert, Supervisor
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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