EdNext Podcast: How Much Economic Growth Can We Get If We Improve Our Schools?



By 04/27/2016

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A new study, “It Pays to Improve School Quality,” calculates the impact we would see on the economy if states improve their schools and students improve their skills.

Eric Hanushek, who co-authored the study with Jens Ruhose and Ludger Woessmann, joins Paul E. Peterson on this week’s Ed Next podcast to discuss the findings of the study.

The authors sum up their study as follows:

In this essay, we document the long-term economic impact of a state’s student-achievement levels, which in turn permits us to calculate the economic returns from school improvement. First, we show that in the 40 years between 1970 and 2010, the spread among the states in their per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) widened considerably. Next, we show that the level of student achievement is a strong predictor of the state’s growth rate in GDP per capita over that time period, even after accounting for both the standard measure of school attainment and other economic factors. Finally, we project for each state the large positive impact that improvements in student achievement would have on a state’s GDP.

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