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POID Working Paper

Education and economic growth


This paper summarises the literature that has linked education and economic growth. It begins with an overview of the key concepts in neoclassical and endogenous growth models, and discussion on how these have been tested in the data. Issues with respect to specification, the measurement of human capital and causality are discussed, together with studies that have sought to address these. A more recent and growing literature that explores the links between firm level human capital and productivity, including externalities, is then summarised. Beyond studies that link human capital to economic performance directly, there are numerous studies that have explored the relationships between human capital and the determinants of growth including investment, technology adoption and invention. Key findings from this literature are drawn out, together with a summary of the literature that has linked the activities of universities (key producers of both human capital and innovation) to their local economies. The paper concludes with discussion of policy implications stemming from this body of research, and promising areas for future research.


Anna Valero

28 April 2021     Paper Number POIDWP006

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This POID Working Paper is published under the Programme on Innovation and Diffusion.