I am trying to find the time to give this outstanding book its due: "The Race Between Education and Technology" by Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz. Unfortunately, I am not done with it and the library (or more accurately Eastern Washington University's library) wants it back. So I have finally decided to spend the money and order it. As I await the arrival of my own copy, I can talk about the parts that I have read carefully. I did one snippet a couple of days ago and here is another one.
Above is a key table that speaks to the relationship between education and growth (is this acceptable fair use - can someone tell me?). This is a growth accounting that looks at increases in educational attainment and their effect on employment and productivity.
How to interpret this table? Well, column one is the measure of productivity growth (output per hour) and column two is the change in educational productivity. For column three, I'll let the authors say the punch line: "Thus, education directly contributed an average of 0.34 percentage points a year to to economic growth...[emphasis theirs]" They go on the say that between 1960 and 1980 the contribution of educational advancement to labor productivity growth was 0.59 percent per year but then sharply declined to 0.37 per year. This matches the general observation that there was great advancement in the educational attainment of Americans post WWII, but a steep fall off in the eighties and nineties (as can be seen in column 4).
So, are these numbers big or small? Well, when average growth rates of high income countries are a little above 2%, a bump of 0.34 percentage points is a 17% increase in growth. So these numbers are pretty huge.
What I really want to discuss here at length is their treatment of the future of education and technology and how a state like Oregon should view education as a part of its economic (as opposed to social) strategy. Soon - the taxpayers of Oregon are paying part of my salary not to blog but to teach research and assist in the operation of OSU, and the tuition paying students of OSU are always my top priority. So blogging has to take a back seat.