Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 97–127 | Cite as

Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital

  • Jérôme Vandenbussche
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Costas Meghir


We examine the contribution of human capital to economy-wide technological improvements through the two channels of innovation and imitation. We develop a theoretical model showing that skilled labor has a higher growth-enhancing effect closer to the technological frontier under the reasonable assumption that innovation is a relatively more skill-intensive activity than imitation. Also, we provide evidence in favor of this prediction using a panel dataset covering 19 OECD countries between 1960 and 2000 and explain why previous empirical research had found no positive relationship between initial schooling level and subsequent growth in rich countries.


Economic growth Human capital Imitation Innovation Convergence 

JEL Classifications

P: I20 O30 O40 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérôme Vandenbussche
    • 1
  • Philippe Aghion
    • 2
  • Costas Meghir
    • 3
  1. 1.International Monetary FundWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.IFS and CEPRHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.IFS, CEPR and IZAUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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