Elisabeth Bublitz, Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 00:00

Workers who switch firms can lose firm-specific human capital. This column presents evidence of how moving to occupationally specialised firms can compensate workers for wage losses that are caused by ‘specific human capital’. When switches occur between firms that are very distant from each other in terms of their knowledge structure, occupationally specialised firms are prepared to pay a wage premium that can outweigh the costs of such long-distance switches.

Markus Brückner, Daniel Lederman, Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 00:00

The relationship between aggregate output and income inequality is central in macroeconomics. This column argues that greater income inequality raises the economic growth of poor countries and decreases the growth of high- and middle-income countries. Human capital accumulation is an important channel through which income inequality affects growth. 

Rune Dahl Fitjar, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 00:00

Policymakers have used a variety of measures to promote firm innovation but their exact impact remains unclear. This column argues that regional context, proxied by investment in R&D and education levels, is fundamental in shaping the innovative performance of firms. The local socioeconomic environment either favours or limits the innovative capacity of firms, depending on their level of interaction both with neighbouring and distant economic actors.

Kirill Shakhnov, Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 00:00

Antonio Cabrales, Juan Dolado, Ricardo Mora, Friday, December 5, 2014 - 00:00

Victor Lavy, Avraham Ebenstein, Sefi Roth, Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 00:00

Claudio Michelacci, Hernán Ruffo, Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 00:00

Marco Annunziata, Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 00:00

Africa has generated a lot of enthusiasm lately. The cynical view of the continent as a hopeless basket case has been replaced by the lofty narrative of Africa Rising. This column argues that Africa’s progress is impressive, and there is more to the story than a commodity boom. But Africa is at a crossroads. The opportunities are huge, but the road ahead is long, and will require persistent and patient effort from policymakers as well as business.

Raphael Boleslavsky, Christopher Cotton, Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 00:00

Grade inflation is widely viewed as detrimental, compromising the quality of education and reducing the information content of student transcripts for employers. This column argues that there may be benefits to allowing grade inflation when universities’ investment decisions are taken into account. With grade inflation, student transcripts convey less information, so employers rely less on transcripts and more on universities’ reputations. This incentivises universities to make costly investments to improve the quality of their education and the average ability of their graduates.

Nico Voigtländer, Mara Squicciarini, Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 00:00

Although studies of contemporary economies find robust associations between human capital and growth, past research has found no link between worker skills and the onset of industrialisation. This column resolves the puzzle by focusing on the upper tail of the skill distribution, which is strongly associated with industrial development in 18th-century France.

Amparo Castelló-Climent, Rafael Doménech, Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 00:00

Most developing countries have made a great effort to eradicate illiteracy. As a result, the inequality in the distribution of education has been reduced by more than half from 1950 to 2010. However, inequality in the distribution of income has hardly changed. This column presents evidence from a new dataset on human capital inequality. The authors find that increasing returns to education, globalisation, and skill-biased technological change can explain why the fall in human capital inequality has not been sufficient to reduce income inequality.

Shelly Lundberg, Robert A. Pollak, Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 00:00

Marriage patterns have changed in the last 50 years as fertility rates declined and cohabitation became more widespread. These trends can be explained by a shift in the gains from marriage away from specialisation and towards investment in children. This column argues that different patterns in childrearing are key to understanding class differences in marriage and parenthood. Heterogeneity in preferences for – or ability to invest in – child human capital explain marriage and fertility patterns across socioeconomic groups.

Markus Brückner, Mark Gradstein, Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 00:00

Average income per capita is strongly correlated with more schooling, but this relationship is more complex than it appears. This column presents new research showing that a large part of the correlation is attributed to the causal effect of economic prosperity on the formation of human capital via schooling.

Janet Currie, Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 00:00

What explains the poverty trap? This column summarises a vast array of evidence on the relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status, children’s health, and children’s future socioeconomic outcomes. Poverty worsens childhood health, which leads to adulthood poverty. Focusing on young mothers’ health and wellbeing could break the cycle.

Emilia del Bono, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Monday, February 25, 2008 - 00:00

Over the last century careers or jobs that provide opportunities for promotion and advancement have become more desirable for females and labour market conditions that impede the establishment of stable careers early in their lives like unemployment, temporary jobs or involuntary turnover, may be reasons for a delay or even a permanent reduction in fertility. The authors of CEPR DP6719 explore how women’s fertility decisions are affected by these considerations and find that certain stages of their careers might be particularly sensitive to labour supply interruptions.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, Friday, January 25, 2008 - 00:00

Are some African economies poised for prolonged growth and human development? This article assesses African development prospects using Iceland’s economic ascent over the last century as a benchmark.

Josep Pijoan-Mas, Claudio Michelacci, Monday, May 28, 2007 - 00:00

Since the 1970s, the number of hours worked per employee has fallen substantially in continental Europe, while it has remained roughly constant in the US. The authors of CEPR DP6314 show that this divergence in the number of hours worked per employee on the two sides of the Atlantic can be explained by the evolution of the respective labour market conditions over the last three decades.

CEPR Policy Research