Education quality and development accounting

Todd Schoellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


This paper measures the role of quality-adjusted years of schooling in accounting for cross-country output per worker differences. While data on years of schooling are readily available, data on education quality are not. I use the returns to schooling of foreign-educated immigrants in the U.S. to measure the education quality of their birth country. Immigrants from developed countries earn higher returns than do immigrants from developing countries. I show how to incorporate this measure of education quality into an otherwise standard development accounting exercise. The main result is that cross-country differences in education quality are roughly as important as cross-country differences in years of schooling in accounting for output per worker differences, raising the total contribution of education from 10% to 20% of output per worker differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-417
Number of pages30
JournalReview of Economic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Development accounting
  • Education quality
  • Human capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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