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The Race between Education and Technology

The Race between Education and Technology

by Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. KatzClaudia Goldin
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This book provides a careful historical analysis of the co-evolution of educational attainment and the wage structure in the United States through the twentieth century. The authors propose that the twentieth century was not only the American Century but also the Human Capital Century. That is, the American educational system is what made America the richest nation in the world. Its educational system had always been less elite than that of most European nations. By 1900 the U.S. had begun to educate its masses at the secondary level, not just in the primary schools that had remarkable success in the nineteenth century.

The book argues that technological change, education, and inequality have been involved in a kind of race. During the first eight decades of the twentieth century, the increase of educated workers was higher than the demand for them. This had the effect of boosting income for most people and lowering inequality. However, the reverse has been true since about 1980. This educational slow-down was accompanied by rising inequality. The authors discuss the complex reasons for this, and what might be done to ameliorate it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674035300
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 255,202
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Claudia Goldin is Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Lawrence Katz is Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • I: Economic Growth and Distribution

    • 1. The Human Capital Century
    • 2. Inequality across the Twentieth Century
    • 3. Skill-Biased Technological Change

  • II: Education for the Masses in Three Transformations

    • 4. Origins of the Virtues
    • 5. Economic Foundations of the High School Movement
    • 6. America’s Graduation from High School
    • 7. Mass Higher Education in the Twentieth Century

  • III: The Race

    • 8. The Race between Education and Technology
    • 9. How America Once Led and Can Win the Race for Tomorrow

  • Appendix A: The 1915 Iowa State Census Sample
  • Appendix B: Construction of State-Level Secondary School Data
  • Appendix C: Construction of City-Level Secondary School Data Set
  • Appendix D: Construction of Wage Bill Shares and Educational Wage Differentials, 1915 to 2005
  • Notes
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Steven D. Levitt

A masterful work by two leading economists on some of the biggest issues in economics: economic growth, human capital, and inequality. There are fundamental insights in the book, not just about our past but also our future. Rigorous but not overly technical, this beautifully written book will appeal to educated lay people and economists alike.
Steven D. Levitt, University of Chicago, co-author of Freakonomics

William G. Bowen

An impressive combination of extensive historical research, careful empirical analysis, and thoughtful commentary on one of the most important questions of the day: to what extent does increasing inequality in incomes stem from our failure to increase educational attainment?
William G. Bowen, President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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