Human Capital Accumulation in Emerging Asia, 1970-2030

34 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010

See all articles by Jong-Wha Lee

Jong-Wha Lee

Korea University

Ruth H. Francisco

University of the Philippines, Diliman - School of Economics; Asian Development Bank

Date Written: September 2010


Emerging Asian economies have made strong progress in improving educational capital in the past 40 years. High educational attainment, especially at the secondary level, has significantly improved emerging Asia’s educational achievement. Regressions show that better parental education and income, lower income inequality, declining fertility, and higher public educational expenditures account for higher educational enrollment. But Asia’s average years of schooling are forecast to increase to 7.6 years by 2030, from 7.0 in 2010, significantly slower than the increase of 4.1 years from 1970 to 2010. That would put emerging Asia’s educational capital in 2030 at only the 1970 level of the advanced countries, or still 3.5 years behind the level of advanced countries in 2010. For sustained human development, Asian economies must invest in improving educational quality and raising enrollment rates at the secondary and tertiary levels.

JEL Classification: C53, I21, J24, 053

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jong-Wha and Francisco, Ruth H., Human Capital Accumulation in Emerging Asia, 1970-2030 (September 2010). Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 216. Available at SSRN: or

Jong-Wha Lee (Contact Author)

Korea University ( email )

Anam-dong, Sungbuk-Ku
Dept. of Economics
Seoul, 136-701
82-2-3290-2216 (Phone)
82-2-928-4948 (Fax)

Ruth H. Francisco

University of the Philippines, Diliman - School of Economics ( email )

Encarnacion Hall
F. M. Guerrero corner S. Osmena Sts
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City

Asian Development Bank ( email )

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Metro Manila

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