Three Essays on Education and its Impact on Economic Growth and Development

Date of Completion

January 2011


Education, Sociology of|Economics, General|Latin American Studies




In this dissertation we explore different aspects of the relationship between education (as one of the main components of human capital) and economic productivity. ^ In the first chapter, we measure the factors that contribute to the quality of education, following Hanushek and Woessmann (2007). An empirical research is carried out for the case of Chile, a country which implemented a very unique educational system in the mid-1980s, with a strong participation of the private sector in the provision of educational services. Amongst other factors, we study the influence of the public/private divide, the socio-economic level of the students and the pupil/teacher ratio. The quality of education is measured by the performance of students in standardised national tests administered to all schools in Chile. ^ The second chapter explores the effects of population density on productivity and the synergetic impact of educational attainment and population density on the causation of technological progress and economic growth, following Becker et al. (1999). We devise a simple theoretical model to explain the channels through which education and density affect productivity, and we test it for a wide sample of developed and developing countries. Our empirical results confirm the positive impact of both population density—broadly defined—and the interaction of education and density on economic productivity. ^ Finally, the third chapter of the dissertation examines the ongoing controversy about the roles of education and institutions as main contributing factors of economic growth. To try to establish a balanced view, we first assume as a premise that good institutional governance is indeed an important factor in promoting economic growth, as has been shown repeatedly in the literature. But at the same time, we investigate the causes of good institutional governance, and find out that educational attainment is one of the main factors contributing to most of the aspects of good governance. ^