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Symposium 2013

Inequality and Human Capital

The Challenge

Both advanced industrial economies such as the United States and rapidly growing economies such as China are exhibiting increasing levels of inequality and disadvantage. Recent research on the sources of inequality has begun the process of creating a new social science paradigm which integrates economics, psychological sociological and biological factors in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the determinants of socioeconomic status across the life course as well as intergenerational mobility. This new work embodies a rich conception of the forces that underlie individual decision making that draws upon the insights of many disciplines. These insights are unified by conceptualizing inequality in socio-economic outcomes as derivative from inequalities that emerge in cognitive and noncognitive skills, which include personality traits as well as human capital and intelligence.

This new perspective on inequality has important implications for public policy. Three features stand out. First, the life course/skills perspective makes clear that early childhood investment is an especially effective mechanism for reducing inequality. Empirical evidence demonstrates that such investment have high rates of return. Second, the importance of social factors in skills formation suggests that egalitarian policies should to address the evolution of social structure with an emphasis on addressing the social structures that an individual experiences at different stages of life. Third, the skills approach has powerful normative implications, with connections to virtue ethics and modern philosophical notions of freedom.

This session is part of the issue cluster "New Opportunities for Global Cooperation" and organized in cooperation with The Institute for New Economic Thinking.

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Recognize that the best educational investments are in pre-school and early years education

    Recognize that the best educational investments are in pre-school and early years education

    Recognize that the best educational investments are in pre-school and early years education

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Create school communities where hard work and achievement are socially rewarded

    Create school communities where hard work and achievement are socially rewarded

    Create school communities where hard work and achievement are socially rewarded

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Give children the promise of higher education and a community to support them on their road to college

    Give children the promise of higher education and a community to support them on their road to college

    Give children the promise of higher education and a community to support them on their road to college

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2013

    Teach children to share - and create schools where morality is integral to the curriculum.

    Teach children to share - and create schools where morality is integral to the curriculum.

    Teach children to share - and create schools where morality is integral to the curriculum.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Inequality, Kids, and Schools

    Inequality, Kids, and Schools     Children are the decision-makers – let’s give them the right incentives.     Inequality.  Some people have more and some people have less.  Why should we ca ...

    Inequality, Kids, and Schools     Children are the decision-makers – let’s give them the right incentives.     Inequality.  Some people have more and some people have less.  Why should we care?  There are many economic answers.  An economist might say, “Inequality is bad for growth; a thriving middle class is important to generate demand for consumer goods.” Or “Inequality does not allow each individual to reach his or her full potential, so the economy loses.” But there is another reason we should care.  Inequality relates systematically to different social groups.  In every country there are pockets of poverty

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Make sustainable behavior – in and outside of markets – a school subject

    Train children to become good sharers, such as they are often taught to become good savers, inside and outside of market environments. To fight inequality, efforts in skill formation of underprivilege ...

    Train children to become good sharers, such as they are often taught to become good savers, inside and outside of market environments. To fight inequality, efforts in skill formation of underprivileged children and their families have to be made. Likewise, those who contribute to the persistence of inequality should be trained in taking responsibility and acting more socially. This solution proposal targets the latter fundamental aspect of human capital accumulation: Make people good sharers. Over the last decades, teaching children to care for others has become even more important – but also more intricate – for two reasons: 1) In

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2013

    Inequality and Human Capital

    Inequality and human capital are two interesting yet seemingly independent concepts. However, if interrelatedness between the two concepts can be found, then policy implications can be drawn according ...

    Inequality and human capital are two interesting yet seemingly independent concepts. However, if interrelatedness between the two concepts can be found, then policy implications can be drawn accordingly. The relationship between inequality and human capital can be examined through the correlation between the Gini coefficient[1] (Gini) and various educational indicators that reflect the accumulation of human capital (HK), such as illiteracy rates and other relevant education statistics on the corresponding country. There are 22 countries, including Hong Kong, who published Gini in different years, and 21 of them had compiled Gini on personal, rather than household, income basis. This formed

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society