A Survey on the Relationship between Education and Growth with Implications for Developing Asia

Publication | December 2010

This paper surveys the empirical and theoretical link between education and growth in the growth process of Asian countries. Particular attention is paid to the link between education and productivity, and to models that characterize key features of growth processes of Asian countries. Empirical studies show that these key features include liability to falling into poverty traps, focusing more on technology adoption rather than creation, technology-skill mismatch, and technology-appropriate capital. The surveyed studies provide policy implications for each of these features as follows.

To avoid the poverty trap and for efficient adoption of technologies, accumulation of human capital - specifically general human capital and width of human capital are crucial. To avoid the technology - skill mismatch, the speed of technology upgrading should be appropriate to take full advantage of learning-by-doing and the earning potential of the current stock of specific human capital. Finally, depending on the stage of development, countries should properly balance investments between general and specific human capital, width and depth of human capital, basic and development research, and primary and secondary and tertiary education.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Review of Empirical Literature
  • Technology-Adopting Role of Education and Multiple Equilibria
  • General versus Specific Human Capital
  • Composition of Human Capital and Growth
  • Directed Technical Change
  • Conclusion
  • References