Giving Compass’ Take:
• Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina discuss data that indicate that better education is followed by higher individual income and long-term economic growth.
• How can funders use this information to inform philanthropic prioritization?
• Find out why education alone isn’t sufficient for economic mobility.
From a historical perspective, the world went through a great expansion in education over the past two centuries. This can be seen across all quantity measures. Global literacy rates have been climbing over the course of the last two centuries, mainly though increasing rates of enrollment in primary education. Secondary and tertiary education have also seen drastic growth, with global average years of schooling being much higher now than a hundred years ago. Despite all these worldwide improvements, some countries have been lagging behind, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are still countries that have literacy rates below 50% among the youth.
Data on the production of education shows that schooling tends to be largely financed with public resources across the globe, although a great deal of heterogeneity is observed between countries and world regions. Since differences in national expenditure on education do not explain well cross-country differences in learning outcomes, the data suggests that generic policies that increase expenditure on standard inputs, such as the number of teachers, are unlikely to be effective to improve education outcomes.
Regarding the consequences of education, a growing body of empirical research suggests that better education yields higher individual income and contributes towards the construction of social capital and long-term economic growth.
Read the full report about the rise in global education by Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina at Our World in Data.
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