DP819 | The Contribution of Human Capital Formation to Post-War Economic Growth in Ireland


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Following an account of the perceptions among Irish policy-makers since the second world war of the contribution of education to economic development, this paper examines the performance of the Irish economy in the framework of a model of exogenous growth incorporating human capital formation. It is shown that when account is taken of the low level of income at the start of the period and the relatively high rate of human and physical capital accumulation, the Irish growth rate has been relatively low. Possible explanations for this poor performance are explored. Neither the structure of education nor low rates of return to additional years of schooling appear to explain it, but there is evidence that the quality of physical investment has been poor. In addition, high and selective emigration in certain periods may have deprived the country of some of the returns to the increased investment in education undertaken in recent decades.