Part of the ZEW Economic Studies book series (ZEW, volume 37)


Countries endowed with higher education tend to experience faster growth. The main investment in education after schooling (including tertiary education) is continuing training. Schooling and training together make up the prevailing skill formation in a developed economy. Education (and therefore also training) affects the productivity of an economy in several ways. First, education is important for successful research activities which, in turn, enhance growth. Second, education produces human capital, i.e. knowledge accumulation, and therefore productivity growth. Investments in human capital are, thus, a core element of a knowledge-based society and crucial for sustained economic growth. While primary and secondary education has been in the focus of researchers for many years, there is far less profound evidence on continuing training. James Heckman declares continuing training to be a blind spot in the vision of politicians and policy analysts: “[...] the work experience and skills acquired in the workplace in the form of job search, learning by doing and workplace education are often neglected in popular discussions because they are not well measured. Post-school learning is an important source of skill formation that accounts for as much as one third to one half of all skill formation in a modern economy. Because much of this learning takes place in informal settings outside of educational institutions, it gets neglected by the educational technocrats and the politicians who equate skill formation with classroom learning. Once we recognise the importance of informal sources of learning for skill formation, we think about policies to foster skill in a different way” (Heckman, 2000: 6).


Human Capital Labour Market Outcome Skill Group Active Labour Market Policy Training Participant 
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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2007

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