OECD Insights

1993-6753 (online)
1993-6745 (print)
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OECD Insights are a series of reader-friendly books that use OECD analysis and data to introduce some of today’s most pressing social and economic issues. They are written for the non-specialist reader, including interested laypeople, older high-school students and university freshmen. The books use straightforward language, avoid technical terms, and illustrate theory with real-world examples. They also feature statistics drawn from the OECD’s unique collection of internationally comparable data. Online, you can find a number of special features to enhance each book’s educational potential.

Also available in French, German, Spanish
Human Capital

Human Capital

How what you know shapes your life You or your institution have access to this content

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  • http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/0107101e.pdf
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Brian Keeley
20 Feb 2007
9789264048669 (HTML) ; 9789264107014 (EPUB) ; 9789264029095 (PDF) ;9789264029088(print)

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This first book in the new OECD Insights Series examines the increasing economic and social importance of human capital - our education, skills, competencies, and knowledge. As economies in developed countries shift away from manufacturing, economic success for individuals and national economies is increasingly reliant on the quality of human capital. Raising human capital has emerged as a key policy priority, particularly for low-skilled individuals, who are at risk of being left even further behind.

Policy in this area is focusing on early childhood development, improving quality and choice in schooling, creating excellence in tertiary education, and widening access to adult learning. Drawing on the research and analysis of the OECD, this dynamic new book uses straightforward language to explain how countries across the OECD area are responding to the challenge of raising their levels of human capital.  This book includes Statlinks, URLs linking statistical tables and graphs in the text of the book to Excel spreadsheets showing the underlying data.

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  • Foreword
    Economic success crucially relies on human capital – the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes that allow people to contribute to their personal and social well-being, as well as that of their countries.
  • Investing for Change
    Today’s children are growing up in a changing world. Globalisation is opening up economies and creating opportunities. Economic foundations have shifted, too, with the rise of the knowledge economy. Coupled with major social change, such as the ageing of populations, societies must fi nd solutions to new challenges.
  • The Value of People
    In the global knowledge economy, people’s skills, learning, talents and attributes – their human capital – have become key to both their ability to earn a living and to wider economic growth. Education systems can do much to help people realise their potential, but when they fail it can lead to lifelong social and economic problems.
  • First Steps
    Raising children was once mainly a job for families and their neighbours. Today, as more and more women go out to work, how we care for young children is becoming an increasingly important public issue. Well thought-out policies can do a lot to support very young children as they take their first steps into the wider world.
  • Off to School
    Formal education is crucial in developing human capital. But schools and colleges are not always as effective as they might be. Poor teaching and outdated teaching methods can limit students’ progress. Education systems also fail to cater for the needs of every student, meaning some get left behind.
  • Learning for Life
    Populations in many societies are ageing, meaning that in future there will be fewer people of working age to support growing numbers of retirees. The result is that more of us will need to go on working for longer. To do that societies will need to break down the barriers that prevent adults from updating their skills and education.
  • A Bigger Picture
    No one is an island. How we develop, from childhood to adulthood, is linked to our relations with our families and societies. Equally, the full range of our human capital – from the state of our health to the level of our learning – affects, and is affected by, our relations to wider society.
  • Measures, and More
    Earning a degree is one of life’s milestone. But a piece of parchment can never truly convey an individual’s full range of talents and abilities. Similarly, economic measures may give only a limited sense of the importance of human capital and social capital to a society’s sense of well being.
  • Additional Statistics
  • References
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