Education Quality and Economic Growth by Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is a leader in the development of economic analysis of educational issues. His research spans such diverse areas as the impact of teacher quality, high stakes accountability, equity and efficiency in school finance, and class size reduction along with the role of cognitive skills in international growth and development. His pioneering analysis measuring teacher quality through the growth in student achievement forms the basis for current research into the value-added of teachers and schools.

In this short video, Hanushek discusses some recent work of his in collaboration with Ludger Woessmann from the CESifo Group Munich. The focus of the work is around human capital and the quality of skills as a driving force for economic development. He argues that the quality of skills becomes increasingly important as economies industrialise. As education improves, so too do cognitive skills, resulting in improved economic outcomes. The complex relationship between education and economic growth is explained in more detail in a recent paper titled ‘Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation’.

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The slides from a recent presentation are available for download. They expand on the belief that human capital plays a vital role in development. New evidence is presented showing that educational quality is the primary issue regarding development. The slides also explain how despite some apparent successes, some educational policies that aim to increase student numbers at schools may actually do more harm than good.

A recent HEART Helpdesk Report provides an annotated bibliography of Hanushek’s most recent and relevant work. It focuses on papers written since 2008. Full versions of the papers included in the Helpdesk Report and the papers published by Hanushek prior to 2008 are available from his website.

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