Why Human Capital Matters Why Human Capital Matters
An economist at the St. Louis Fed discusses the growing importance of human capital in determining a nation’s income.
The gender gap in mathematics: evidence from a middle-income country
Using a large administrative data set from Chile, we find that, on average, boys perform better than girls in mathematics. In this paper, we document several features of their relative performance. First, we note that the gender gap appears to increase with age (it doubles between fourth grade and eighth grade). Second, we test whether commonly proposed explanations such as parental background and investment in the child, unobserved ability, and classroom environment (including teacher gender) help explain a substantial portion of the gap. While none of these explanations help in explaining a ...
Educational assortative mating and household income inequality
We document the degree of educational assortative mating, how it evolves over time, and the extent to which it differs between countries. Our analysis focuses on the United States but also uses data from Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway. We find evidence of positive assortative mating at all levels of education in each country. However, the time trends vary by the level of education: Among college graduates, assortative mating has been declining over time, whereas individuals with a low level of education are increasingly sorting into internally homogeneous marriages. These ...
Diplomas to Doorsteps: Education, Student Debt, and Homeownership
Evidence overwhelmingly shows that the average earnings premium to having a college education is high and has risen over the past several decades, in part because of a decline in real average earnings for those without a college degree. In addition to high private returns, there are substantial social returns to having a well-educated citizenry and workforce. A new development that may have important longer-term implications for education investment and for the broader economy is a significant change in the financing of higher education. State funding has declined markedly over the past two ...
Education Policies and Structural Transformation
This article studies the impact of education and fertility in structural transformation and growth. In the model there are three sectors, agriculture, which uses only low-skill labor, manufacturing, that uses high-skill labor only and services, that uses both. Parents choose optimally the number of children and their skill. Educational policy has two dimensions, it may or may not allow child labor and it subsidizes education expenditures. The model is calibrated to South Korea and Brazil, and is able to reproduce some key stylized facts observed between 1960 and 2005 in these economies, such ...
Remarks at Conference on Successful Strategies for Financial Literacy and Education
Remarks by Charles L. Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Chicago, IL
Social Interventions, Health and Wellbeing: The Long-Term and Intergenerational Effects of a School Construction Program
We analyze the long-run and intergenerational effects of a large-scale school building project (INPRES) that took place in Indonesia between 1974 and 1979. Specifically, we link the geographic rollout of INPRES to longitudinal data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey covering two generations. We find that individuals exposed to the program have better health later in life along multiple measures. We also find that the children of those exposed also experience improved health and educational outcomes and that these effects are generally stronger for maternal exposure than paternal exposure. ...
The Signaling, Screening, and Human Capital Effects of National Board Certification: Evidence from Chicago and Kentucky High Schools
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognizes teachers who meet performance standards for “accomplished” educators. States and districts provide support for teachers to obtain this certification, which is considered an honor in the field. Using high school data from Chicago and Kentucky, we examine whether participation in the time- and resource-intensive certification process improves teacher productivity and, ultimately, if recognized teachers are of higher quality than their non-certified peers. We find the certification process itself did not increase teacher ...
Achievement Gap Estimates and Deviations from Cardinal Comparability
This paper assesses the sensitivity of standard empirical methods for measuring group differences in achievement to violations in the cardinal comparability of achievement test scores. The paper defines a distance measure over possible weighting functions (scalings) of test scores. It then constructs worst-case bounds for the bias in the estimated achievement gap (or achievement gap change) that could result from using the observed rather than the true test scale, given that the true and observed scales are no more than a fixed distance from each other. The worst-case weighting functions have ...
Human Capital and Unemployment Dynamics: Why More Educated Workers Enjoy Greater Employment Stability
Why do more educated workers experience lower unemployment rates and lower employment volatility? A closer look at the data reveals that these workers have similar job finding rates, but much lower and less volatile separation rates than their less educated peers. We argue that on-the-job training, being complementary to formal education, is the reason for this pattern. Using a search and matching model with endogenous separations, we show that investments in match-specific human capital reduce the outside option of workers, implying less incentives to separate. The model generates ...