Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle

35 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009 Last revised: 4 Sep 2010

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

Economic development in Latin America has trailed most other world regions over the past four decades despite its relatively high initial development and school attainment levels. This puzzle can be resolved by considering the actual learning as expressed in tests of cognitive skills, on which Latin American countries consistently perform at the bottom. In growth models estimated across world regions, these low levels of cognitive skills can account for the poor growth performance of Latin America. Given the limitations of worldwide tests in discriminating performance at low levels, we also introduce measures from two regional tests designed to measure performance for all Latin American countries with internationally comparable income data. Our growth analysis using these data confirms the significant effects of cognitive skills on intra-regional variations. Splicing the new regional tests into the worldwide tests, we also confirm this effect in extended worldwide regressions, although it appears somewhat smaller in the regional Latin American data than in the worldwide data.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Woessmann, Ludger, Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle (June 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15066. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1418924

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

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