The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach. Comment

34 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2017

See all articles by Francesco Caselli

Francesco Caselli

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Antonio Ciccone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

Jones (2014) considers development accounting when workers with different schooling are imperfect substitutes. His main result is that, using plausible values for the elasticity of substitution between workers with different educational attainment, measured human capital variation can be boosted to the point that factors of production account for the totality of the variation in income across countries. We show that the amplification of cross-country human capital differences achieved by Jones, and hence his success at removing the unexplained component of income differences, is entirely due to an assumption that the relative wage of skilled workers is solely determined by attributes of workers (once the supply of skilled workers is accounted for). If, as we argue, skill premia are also influenced by technology, institutions, and other features of the economic environment, cross-country differences in human capital as measured by Jones will embed differences in these technological, institutional, and other attributes. As a result, Jones's conclusion that human capital can account for all the variation in income across countries is unwarranted.

Suggested Citation

Caselli, Francesco and Ciccone, Antonio, The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach. Comment (November 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12451. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3079418

Francesco Caselli (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Antonio Ciccone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 1669 (Phone)
+34 93 542 1746 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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