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Kristiana Bolzman is development manager at the Independent Institute, a non-partisan think tank in the San Francisco Bay Area. The views expressed in writing are her own.
With the recent release of a study on education spending, many are reiterating a hackneyed conclusion: that the U.S. needs to funnel more money into schools.
Study - Institute - Health - Metrics - Evaluation
The study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compared human capital, or the quality of a country’s workforce, in different developed countries. Human capital is important, the study explains, because countries with greater human capital experience faster economic growth per capita—meaning more jobs, better wages, and more affordable goods and services.
The researchers determined the quality of a country’s human capital by looking at years of educational attainment, student performance on tests, and health factors. Based on these indicators, the study found that the U.S. dropped from a 6th place international human capital ranking in 1990 to a 27th place ranking today.
Decline - Capital - United - States - Surprises
“The decline of human capital in the United States was one of the biggest surprises in our study,” said Dr. Christopher Murray writes. “Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP—which policymakers here in the U.S. ignore at their own peril.”
In response to the study, some media outlets are now calling on the U.S. to spend more on education. But they’re mistaken: The issue isn’t how much we’re spending, it’s how we’re spending. So before we run to our checkbooks, let’s remember that investment doesn’t always mean spending more—it often means spending better.
Study - Insight - US - Spending - Countries
The study offers some insight into how the U.S. can be smarter in its spending. The 10 countries found to have the greatest human capital were Finland, Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Taiwan, South Korea, Norway, Luxembourg, France, and Belgium.
If spending is...
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