هزینه سرمایه انسانی متخصص
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|18430||2003||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||4231 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Economics of Education Review, Volume 22, Issue 4, August 2003, Pages 433–438
Since Gary Becker’s classic treatise Human Capital, the cost of education has generally been viewed as the sum of direct cost plus net foregone earnings—the difference between what could have been earned without attending school and what is earned while in school. However, individuals invest in specialized and not generic human capital. For some individuals, the opportunity cost of a specialized education is what could have been earned after accumulating an alternative specialized education. As demonstrated in this paper, if some individuals belong to a non-competing group, then direct schooling cost plus net foregone earnings will tend to understate the cost of education for others. The notion of a non-competing group requires that some may not be able to enter certain occupations. The human capital approach considers supply of and demand for human capital by individuals, rather than the supply of and demand for individuals with specialized human capital.
Becker in his pioneering book Human Capital, explains that the private cost of college is “…the sum of private direct and indirect costs…Since students earn less than if they were participating full time in the labor force, the earnings foregone are an indirect cost of schooling.” ( Becker, 1993, p. 166) 1 As early as his article in Becker (1962), he discusses the importance of net foregone earnings in measuring schooling cost. Thus Becker’s view of the cost of education has been known for approximately 40 years. There were early critiques of the notion that educational cost is the sum of direct cost plus net foregone earnings. Lindsay (1971) and Parsons (1974) consider educational cost when individuals maximize utility and not income. Lindsay notes that an investment in human capital raises the price of leisure, inducing individuals to choose more goods and less leisure. Because the price of leisure has increased, the increased earnings from human capital investment overstates the increase in utility. Parsons demonstrates, theoretically and empirically, that utility-maximizing individuals will reduce both leisure and work hours as they increase schooling hours, so net foregone earnings significantly understate indirect schooling costs. What motivates Lindsay’s analysis of human capital cost and returns is the question of whether returns to human capital investment are excessive. Lindsay’s argument is that, in order to understand individual decisions to invest in a particular type of human capital, one must focus on the true cost of such investment—what is actually foregone when the investment is undertaken—because that is what will be reflected in the supply of individuals with that type of human capital. Putting aside the issue of utility maximization, and assuming individuals maximize income, the question addressed herein is: do direct educational cost and net foregone earnings reflect the cost of human capital investment? As will be suggested subsequently, Becker apparently had some ambivalence on this point when he wrote Human Capital. The problem with using direct cost plus net foregone earnings is illustrated in a recent quote by Becker in the Wall Street Journal. When discussing the reduced supply and high academic salaries of PhDs in economics, Becker states “Students who would have gone on for [advanced] degrees in economics in the past are going for M.B.A.s and law degrees…The financial rewards are greater and they come quicker” ( Hilsenrath, 2001, p. B16). Although Becker’s explanation is intuitive, it suggests that direct cost plus net foregone earnings are not what is important in determining the opportunity cost of investing in a particular type of human capital. If direct schooling cost plus net foregone earnings did reflect the opportunity cost of a PhD in economics, then what one could earn with a bachelors (or possibly a masters) degree in economics while one invested in a PhD would be what affected the supply of economics PhDs. The quote from Becker focuses on the correct measure of the opportunity cost of investing in specialized human capital: what one could earn had one invested in the best alternative to the chosen specialization. In order to defend the direct cost plus net foregone earnings approach, one could argue that it is useful to consider investment in a generic education, and not in a specialized education (e.g. a bachelors degree in economics, an MBA etc.). One might defend analysis with generic education as a necessary simplification in order to consider the profitability of educational investment relative to alternative investments. For example, Becker (1993) notes that the private rate of return to education exceeds the rate of return on real capital. However, it is not a benign simplification to assume generic education. Individuals actually choose specialized human capital, the best alternative to which for many is investment in other specialized human capital. To know whether educational returns are excessive or not, and what affects the supply of individuals with specialized human capital, one must look at the actual choices made and the best alternatives to these choices. As noted above, although Becker argues in Human Capital that net foregone earnings are part of educational cost, he actually anticipates some of the arguments herein. First, he argues “…an investment in college education is subject to considerable risk, and is obviously extremely illiquid. Consequently, the gain from education should be compared with that on investments with equally large risk and illiquidity” ( Becker, 1993, p. 206). Becker also notes in Human Capital that he has not tried to estimate the gains to individuals taking specialized programs in high school and college, but that the average gains to those completing high school and college are useful because “…for example, since average gains are large the gains from particular specialties would have to be very large before they could be considered ‘excessive’” ( Becker, 1993, pp. 249–250). 2 Second, in Human Capital Becker notes the analysis in two other books, those by Friedman and Kuznets (1945) and Lewis (1963), of returns to different professions. In comparing medicine and dentistry, Friedman and Kuznets argue that many of those who enter either profession would have alternatively chosen the other. With free entry into either, returns would be at equilibrium levels, that is levels “…that would equalize their net attractiveness in the eyes of a considerable fraction of those in a position to choose between them” ( Friedman & Kuznets, 1945, p. 124). Lewis expands on the analysis of Friedman and Kuznets, and notes that excess returns to either profession could result from changes in demand for either, or from changes in the relative cost of investing in either form of human capital. Neither of these books views direct cost plus net foregone earnings from investing in either profession as relevant for individuals who make human capital investment decisions. 3 To this point, it has been argued that individuals invest in specialized human capital,4 which implies that the best alternative to such investment may be other investment in human capital. Thus the cost of investing in human capital may not be measured by what one could earn had one not invested at all in human capital. However, if all individuals are capable of obtaining different types of human capital, long run equilibrium between different specializations could imply that individuals on the margin also are indifferent to choosing one of these specializations or not investing. If this were true, direct educational cost plus net foregone earnings would reflect the opportunity cost of education. To consider this possibility, the next section contains a discussion of the idea of non-competing groups. A simple model of investment in specialized human capital with non-competing groups is developed in 3 and 4. Section 5 summarizes the arguments herein.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Gary Becker’s classic treatise Human Capital considered the cost of education to be the sum of direct cost plus net foregone earnings. However, since individuals invest in specialized and not generic human capital, for some the opportunity cost of a specialized education is what one could have earned after acquiring an alternative specialized education. In the model herein, some (Betas) were assumed unable to invest in the human capital for one (the Quant) job, and had lower ability than others (Alphas) in another (the Skilled) job. Thus, if individuals do belong to non-competing groups, then earnings without investing in human capital, plus direct schooling cost, plus net foregone earnings will tend to understate the opportunity cost of education for individuals who can obtain human capital others cannot obtain. Therefore, in some specializations, human capital returns may appear to be excessive when they merely compensate individuals for what they could earn in their next best alternative. Friedman and Kuznets (1945) compared earnings of doctors and dentists to examine whether returns were excessive. The same approach would seem to be required to consider the excessiveness of returns for many types of human capital.