Does education matter for economic growth?

Michael S. Delgado, Daniel J. Henderson, Christopher F. Parmeter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Empirical growth regressions typically include mean years of schooling as a proxy for human capital. However, empirical research often finds that the sign and significance of schooling depends on the sample of observations or the specification of the model. We use a non-parametric local-linear regression estimator and a non-parametric variable relevance test to conduct a rigorous and systematic search for significance of mean years of schooling by examining five of the most comprehensive schooling databases. Contrary to a few recent articles that have identified significant nonlinearities between education and growth, our results suggest that mean years of schooling is not a statistically relevant variable in growth regressions. However, we do find evidence (within a cross-sectional framework), that educational achievement, measured by mean test scores, may provide a more reliable measure of human capital than mean years of schooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-359
Number of pages26
JournalOxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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