Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 71–93 | Cite as

Intelligence, Human Capital, and Economic Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach

  • Garett Jones
  • W. Joel Schneider
Original Article


Human capital plays an important role in the theory of economic growth, but it has been difficult to measure this abstract concept. We survey the psychological literature on cross-cultural IQ tests and conclude that intelligence tests provide one useful measure of human capital. Using a new database of national average IQ, we show that in growth regressions that include only robust control variables, IQ is statistically significant in 99.8% of these 1330 regressions, easily passing a Bayesian model-averaging robustness test. A 1 point increase in a nation’s average IQ is associated with a persistent 0.11% annual increase in GDP per capita.


Intelligence Human capital Economic growth 

JEL Classifications

O47 J24 I20 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garett Jones
    • 1
  • W. Joel Schneider
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics and FinanceSouthern Illinois UniversityEdwardsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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