Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update

36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 30, 2002


Returns to investment in education based on human capital theory have been estimated since the late 1950s. In the 40-plus year history of estimates ofreturns to investment in education, there have been several reviews of the empirical results in attempts to establish patterns. Many more estimates from a wide variety of countries, including over time evidence, and estimates based on new econometric techniques, reaffirm the importance of human capital theory. The suthors review and present the latest estimates and patterns as found in the literature at the turn of the century. However, because the availability of rate of return estimates has grown exponentially, the authors include a new section on the need for selectivity in comparing returns to investment in education and establishing related patterns.

Keywords: Curriculum & Instruction, Teaching and Learning, Public Health Promotion, Decentralization, Economic Theory & Research, Agricultural Knowledge & Information Systems, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Economics of Education

Suggested Citation

Patrinos, Harry Anthony and Psacharopoulos, George, Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update (September 30, 2002). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2881, Available at SSRN:

Harry Anthony Patrinos (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

George Psacharopoulos

Georgetown University

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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