“The first-ever study ranking countries by human capital has been published in The Lancet. This novel approach looks at nations’ investments in health and education and their relation to GDP growth,” according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Luxembourg scored in the top 10. Pictured: Students at a rural school in Argentina, September 2007. Photo credit: World Bank/Nahuel Berger via Flickr
There is a strong link between a country’s investment in human capital and its economic performance, with Luxembourg showing a measurable gain over the past two decades, researchers have found.
“Nations failing to invest in health and education are at risk of stagnating economies and lower per capita GDP, according to the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital,” stated the institute’s press release.
“Human capital is characterised as the aggregate levels of education, training, skills, and health in a population,” researchers wrote in the study.
“We generated a period measure of expected human capital, defined for each birth cohort as the expected years lived from age 20 to 64 years and adjusted for educational attainment, learning or education quality, and functional health status using rates specific to each time period, age, and sex for 195 countries from 1990 to 2016.”
“Larger improvements in expected human capital appear to be associated with faster economic growth,” the authors concluded.
Luxembourg rose from 13th out of 195 jurisdictions in 1990 to 8th place in 2016.
Nordic nations topped the table both years, while Turkey showed the biggest gain during the survey period (going from 102nd to 43rd place). The US fell from 6th to 27th place, “because of minimal progress, particularly on educational attainment.” Overall, sub-Saharan African countries fared the worse.
Country rankings and values for expected human capital in 2016, top 10
1: Finland (28)
2: Iceland (27)
3: Denmark (27)
4: Netherlands (27)
5: Taiwan (26)
6: South Korea (26)
7: Norway (25)
8: Luxembourg (25)
9: France (25)
10: Belgium (25)
Country rankings and values for expected human capital in 2016, bottom 10