Demographic change, human capital, and economic growth in Korea

Jong Suk Han, Jong Wha Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


We construct a measure of human capital using micro datasets on labor composition of age, gender, education, and wage rate and analyze its role in economic growth for the Korean economy. Over the past three decades, human capital has grown steadily at about 1% per year, contrasting to a continuously declining trend of total work-hours. This growth has been driven by the rise of better-educated baby-boom cohorts. A growth accounting exercise shows that human capital contributes significantly to economic growth; it accounted for 0.5% points of annual GDP growth over the period. Human capital is projected to remain a major growth factor over the next two decades as the increase in educational attainment continues. Increased employment rate of elderly or female workers reduces the aggregate human capital growth while increasing the available labor. Polices to improve human capital of female or elderly workers help to increase aggregate human capital growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100984
JournalJapan and the World Economy
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar


  • Aging
  • Demographic change
  • Education
  • Growth
  • Human capital
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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