Educational Romanticism & Economic Development

Friday, June 19th, 2015

What’s the best way to interpret Hausmann’s Education Myth?

Yes, “years of schooling” is a poor proxy for educational outcomes. But it captures very well the policy instrument that governments can actually control easily — building large boxes and herding children into them like cattle. That investment has obviously not caused a convergence in test scores between developed and developing countries.

There’s no evidence that education, how ever measured, promotes the sort of growth rates that result in eventual convergence with the rich countries. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest education has contributed to the positive but relatively low growth rates which have been insufficient for convergence. Economic growth research implicitly assumes that the rapid convergence of East Asia with the western countries is ‘normal’ and the slow growth of other non-western countries ‘abnormal’. But maybe the former is the anomaly.

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