DP9253 | Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting

Publication Date

09/12/2012

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Abstract

Using recently available large-sample micro data from 36 countries, we document that experience-earnings profiles are flatter in poor countries than in rich countries. Motivated by this fact, we conduct a development accounting exercise that allows the returns to experience to vary across countries but is otherwise standard. When the country-specific returns to experience are interpreted in such a development accounting framework -- and are therefore accounted for as part of human capital -- we find that human and physical capital differences can account for almost two thirds of the variation in cross-country income differences, as compared to less than half in previous studies.