Claudia Goldin's Economic History Presidential Address:
"The Human Capital Century and American Leadership: Virtues of the Past"
These are *raw* notes...
Mission: convince us that the twentieth century was the human capital century.
- The result of late-nineteenth century shifts that increased the value of formal decuation
- The U.S. leads the way in education
- The U.S. provides a new educational template, based on republican ideology, new world factor endowments, and egalitarianism.
- U.S. twentieth-century education is
- gender neutral,
- locally financed,
- U.S. twentieth-century education enabled mobility
- Back then there were American virtues and European vices.
- Since there may have been an ideological reversal...
Focus tonight on the high school...
- In the mid nineteenth century, delegations to the United States focused on technology
- In 1900, delegations to the U.S. focused on education: "...the only assets of Massachusetts are its climate and its skilled labor..."
- By 1900 what mattered was capital embodied in people.
- Only the U.S. made the investment in education: the U.S. led the way in mass secondary and higher education.
- Even today's very poor countries invest much more in educaiton than countries with equivalent incomes in the past.
A "New Economy" emerged in the early twentieth century:
- Demand-side shifts that increased the demand for skilled, literate, educated labor.
- Firms sought workers with general skills: workers who could... ...
- ...read manuals,
- ...use algebra,
- ...do mechanical drawing,
- ...and understand electricity.
U.S. led in formal schooling in a very particular way:
- general not technical education;
- universal egalitarian rather than tracking
- hold people back rather than shift them onto a different educational path.
- The U.S. pioneered the general high school:
- Europeans called this an incredibly wasteful system.
- High geographic mobility and rapid technological change raise the value of general education
- Kansans in 1915 demanded that schools educate rural children for geographic mobility.
- Kansas and evolution today.
The high school movement.
- Laggards in high schooling included...
- ...most of the big industrial city-heavy states,
- ...and of course the south.
- ...California's extraordinary recent educational failure...
- Local school districts important in the diffusion of high schools.
Return to high schol in in 1915: 12% per year
- Double the return in 1955
- Impact of high schoolization:
- steep fall in inequality,
- narrowing of education premium
- (did the fall in inequality also come from the cutoff of immigration?)
- Wage structure a race between education and technology:
- education wins the race 1910-1960,
- technology wins the race 1960-2000
Bob Margo's introductory remarks:
"The harder one works, the luckier one gets" -- Bear Bryant
"The Economist as Detective"
Claudia Goldin trading cards