Educational quality and disparities in income and growth across countries

Hanol Lee, Jong Wha Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct a comprehensive database of educational quality by cohort for 92 countries from 1970 to 2015 and analyze its impact on disparities in income and growth worldwide. To estimate educational quality, we utilize secondary students’ scores on international mathematics and science tests. Additionally, we impute unobserved test scores for individual countries in non-participating survey years. Wage regressions using individual earnings data reveal considerable returns to educational quality. We estimate human capital stock by incorporating differences in educational quantity and quality by age group across countries and over time. Our newly-constructed human capital dataset enabled us to explore the role of educational quality and human capital in understanding cross-country income disparities. The findings from development and growth accounting exercises indicated a discernible contribution of educational quality to per capita income and its growth rate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Growth
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Development accounting
  • Educational quality
  • Human capital
  • Return to education
  • Test score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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