First, we looked just at the impact of average school attainment on the economic growth rate. (An adjustment was made for the initial level of GDP because it is “easier” to grow if you are starting out at a lower level; that is, it is easier to copy more productive technologies than to initiate progress on your own.) When we performed this analysis, we found, as other economists before us, that when the average number of years of schooling in a country was higher, the economy grew at a higher annual rate over subsequent decades. Specifically, we found that, across the 50 countries, each additional year of average schooling in a country increased the average 40-year growth rate in GDP by about 0.37 percentage points.


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