Strategic Human Capital Investments (News and Research 215)

Strategic Human Capital Investments – The South Caucasus Human Capital Reports | Survive, Learn, Thrive: Strategic Human Capital Investments Toward a More Prosperous and Inclusive Armenia | Human capital – the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives and that enable them to realize their potential as productive members of society – is an important contributor to the wealth of all nations regardless of their income status. A child born in Armenia today will be 57 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she received a full education and was completely healthy. This reflects the existence in Armenia of deficiencies in its schooling, student performance on harmonized tests, and the protection from non-fatal health risks that it provides beyond childhood. These gaps in human capital formation have negative implications for the economy. The 2013-2014 National Competitiveness Report of Armenia highlighted that insufficient human capital is a binding constraint to the country’s growth. If Armenia ensured full education and complete health in the long run, the per capita Gross Domestic Product could be 1.75 times higher.

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Survive, Learn, Thrive: Strategic Human Capital Investments to Unlock Georgia‘s Potential | Human capital is the stock of accumulated knowledge, experience, and attributes that workers bring to and use in the production of goods and services in an economy. Investing in people through quality healthcare, education, social services, and job opportunities develops human capital, which is key to ending extreme poverty and creating more inclusive societies. The state of Georgia’s human capital is of significant concern as it threatens to hold the country back from reaching its growth potential. Recognizing this urgency, the government has begun to set national priorities for accelerating human capital development. This report highlights the state of and trends in human capital development in Georgia today. Its aim is to acknowledge Georgia’s accomplishments, address ongoing challenges, and outline key interventions to help the country in taking the next step in its growth by investing in its most important resource, the Georgian people. Moving from ideation to the implementation of strategic human capital investments will require a whole-of-society approach, an increase in financial commitments, continuous monitoring and learning from results, and the exploitation of technology.

Survive, Learn, Thrive: Strategic Human Capital Investments to Accelerate Azerbaijan’s Growth | Human capital is the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives and that enable them to realize their potential as productive members of society is an important contributor to the wealth of all nations regardless of income status. While Azerbaijan has achieved remarkable economic growth and poverty reduction over the last two decades, it lags its regional peers in terms of human capital accumulation. This report aims to evaluate Azerbaijan’s progress in human capital development and to identify opportunities for accelerating growth. To this end, the analysis uses the HCP to benchmark human capital development in Azerbaijan against its international peers using the Human Capital Index (HCI). The report supplements the HCP with additional analysis assessing key challenges and constraints in the areas that are instrumental for human capital development, and provides pathways for targeted catalytic interventions aimed at yielding positive growth in human capital development in the country.

A free-college experiment | Free college — an idea that Bernie Sanders helped popularize and Joe Biden has partly adopted — makes two basic promises. The first is that by making all public colleges free to attend, the policy will eliminate a major cost for many struggling Americans. The second is that more students from lower-income families will graduate from college. But that second promise is untested. Some experts believe that cost is the central reason so many students fail to complete college. Others think that the weak quality of many colleges and lack of student preparation are bigger factors. If the second group is right, free college will end up being an expensive disappointment, not so different from a complicated tax cut that flows only to families with college-age children. This week, a team of research economists — Joshua Angrist and David Autor of M.I.T. and Amanda Pallais of Harvard — released a study that offers some of the best early evidence on the issue. It’s an important topic because college degrees are so valuable. A degree is obviously not a guarantee of success, but graduates earn much more, live longer and are more likely to be happy with their lives than nongraduates. “The returns to college are so large,” Autor told me. Affluent parents, well aware of the benefits, typically insist their children finish college. Many middle-class and poor children never finish. Several years ago, the three economists and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation created a randomized clinical trial, like those to evaluate new drugs or vaccines. Some high school students received a generous scholarship — often covering the full cost of college — from the foundation, while others did not. The researchers then tracked the two groups. The results are fascinatingly nuanced. The scholarship did appear to lift graduation rates: Among students who planned to attend a four-year college, 71 percent of scholarship recipients graduated within six years. Only 63 percent of students who didn’t get a scholarship graduated. The gains were largest among nonwhite students, poor students and students whose parents had not attended college. All of that supports the arguments of free-college advocates. But not every result did. The scholarship had no evident effect on graduation rates at community colleges. That’s a sign that educational quality is a bigger problem at many two-year colleges than tuition bills. What’s the bottom line? A nationwide program of free college would be extremely expensive, Angrist said. And many of the benefits would flow to upper-income students likely to finish anyway. But a targeted program, focusing on lower-income students, could have a big impact while also leaving more money available for other priorities, be it health care, climate change — or investing more money in the quality of education at community colleges. For more: Biden has proposed a major increase in federal financial aid for higher education, focused on families making less than $125,000 (or roughly the bottom 75 percent of earners). President Trump has proposed substantial cuts in financial aid along with some funding increases for two-year colleges.

Life Expectancy at Birth and Lifetime Education and Earnings | Exploiting cross–birth cohort and cross-country variation from a pool of 188 household surveys from 111 countries, this paper measures how life expectancy at birth affects lifetime education and earnings. On average, individuals add one year of schooling for every 8.3 years of increased life expectancy at birth. Lifetime earnings increase by 1.7 percent per year of added life expectancy at birth. The estimates imply that rising life expectancy at birth explains 75 percent of the increase in average years of schooling worldwide for birth cohorts between 1922 and 1987 and 38 percent of the increase in average gross domestic product per capita in the 20th century.

How Will a Second Wave Affect Russia’s Economy? | The damage won’t be as devastating, but the long-term impacts will linger | A particular concern is the effect of prolonged school closures on a generation of young people, especially given that Russian students “fare poorly in collaborative problem-solving skills.” Russia reopened its schools at the beginning of September, but after a spike in cases, Moscow said it will again close them for an extended two-week midterm break. Even with the shift to remote education, the World Bank estimates a third of the school year could have been lost — which could “reduce marginal future earnings by about 2.5% a year over a student’s working life.”

As Covid-19 Closes Schools, the World’s Children Go to Work | Former students are taking illegal and often dangerous jobs in India and other developing countries, potentially rolling back years of progress in social mobility and public health.

Uzbekistan built school in Tajikistan. There is a 2-minute video with some photos of school facilities on Uzbekistan-built school opens in Tajikistan (Central Asia News). The school was constructed with funding from the government of Uzbekistan, it opened in Spitamen district, Sughd region of Tajikistan. The school has state-of-the-art equipment meeting the latest standards.

Good discussion with Uzbekistan Minister of Public Education and team, and Head of State Inspectorate for Supervision of Quality in Education on the Human Capital Index, learning outcomes and the impact of COVID-19

Global Labor Organization (GLO) Discussion Paper No. 674: Returns to Education in the Russian Federation: Some New Estimates by Melianova, Parandekar, Patrinos, Volgin