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Educational Attainment and the Revival of U.S. Economic Growth

Dale W. Jorgenson, Mun S. Ho, Jon D. Samuels

Chapter in NBER book Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future U.S. GDP Growth (2019), Charles R. Hulten and Valerie A. Ramey, editors (p. 23 - 60)
Conference held October 16-17, 2015
Published in December 2018 by University of Chicago Press
© 2019 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in NBER Book Series Studies in Income and Wealth

Labor quality growth captures the upgrading of the labor force through higher educational attainment and greater experience. We find that average levels of educational attainment of new entrants remain high, but will no longer continue to rise. Growing educational attainment will gradually disappear as a source of U.S. economic growth. We find that the investment boom of 1995-2000 drew many younger and less-educated workers into employment. Employment rates for these workers declined during the recovery of 2000-2007 and dropped further during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Based on estimates of labor quality growth, growth in total factor productivity, and growth in capital quality, we project labor productivity to grow at 1.3% per year. This implies a GDP growth rate of 1.8%.

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w22453, Education, Participation, and the Revival of U.S. Economic Growth, Dale W. Jorgenson, Mun S. Ho, Jon D. Samuels
Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Douglas W. Elmendorf
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