NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Human Capital Century and American Leadership: Virtues of the Past

Claudia Goldin

NBER Working Paper No. 8239
Issued in April 2001
NBER Program(s):   DAE   LS

The modern concept of the wealth of nations emerged by the early twentieth century. Capital embodied in people human capital mattered. The United States led all nations in mass postelementary education during the human-capital century.' The American system of education was shaped by New World endowments and Republican ideology and was characterized by virtues including publicly funded mass education that was open and forgiving, academic yet practical, secular, gender neutral, and funded and controlled by small districts. The American educational template was a remarkable success, but recent educational concerns and policy have redefined some of its 'virtues' as 'vices.'

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8239

Published: Goldin, Claudia. "The Human-Capital Century And American Leadership: Virtues Of The Past," Journal of Economic History, 2001, v61(2,Jun), 263-292. citation courtesy of

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