NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Innovation and American K-12 Education

Aaron Chatterji

NBER Working Paper No. 23531
Issued in June 2017
NBER Program(s):The Education Program, The Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

Economists have long believed education is essential to the acquisition of human capital and contributes to economic growth. However, education researchers, political and business leaders and other stakeholders have raised concerns about the quality and costs of the K-12 education system in the United States and the implications for the development of the nation’s future workforce. Some of these groups have called for more innovation in K-12 education, leveraging technology in the classroom and experimenting with different organizing models for schools, both as a means to lower costs and increase quality. To shed light on the prospects of this approach, I review the economics literature at the intersection between innovation and K-12 education from two different, but related, perspectives. First, I summarize the evidence about the efficacy of technological and other kinds of innovation in the classroom. Second, I discuss the state of research on how the American K-12 system influences the production of innovators and entrepreneurs. In both instances, I identify implications for policy and opportunities for future research to generate actionable insights, particularly around increasing the low levels of research and development in the education sector.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23531

Published: Innovation and American K-12 Education, Aaron K. Chatterji. in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, Lerner and Stern. 2018

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