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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page Alternatives in Human Capital Accumulation: Implications for Economic Growth
Murat F. Iyigun and Ann L. Owen

Abstract:  This paper demonstrates that considering alternative means of human capital accumulation, such as learning-by-doing, overturns the presumption that formal education is unconditionally beneficial for economic growth. It analyzes a model in which the average level of human capital creates externalities in future human capital accumulation and individuals can augment their human capital with work experience or education. The model shows that in the early stages of development, education enhances growth by creating a positive externality, and, in later stages, it may depress growth by leading to a negative externality. It also demonstrates the possibility of multiple equilibria in which low-income equilibria are characterized by under-education and high-income equilibria are characterized by over-education.

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Last update: July 19, 2001