Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Ekonomihögskolan vid Lunds universitet

EKHM82 Human Capital in a Historical Perspective, 7,5 credit points (ETCS)

Human capital is often considered as an important determinant to economic growth and a strategic factor with respect to productivity. It is also assumed to affect peoples' lives in many other ways, from personal well-being to promotion of social equality. In this course, the theoretical foundations as well as empirical evidence are reviewed and critically examined. Different concepts and methods for the measurement of human capital are studied. Human capital is, moreover, discussed in relation to related concepts in economic growth theory such as research and development, social capital and social capability. A vital issue is that of causality: Does human capital cause economic growth or is it an effect of it? This and many other problems are analysed from a historical point of view, considering human capital formation as well as the role of human capital in modernisation, in particular in the first, second, and third industrial revolution. The relation between human capital and equality is studied from several perspectives. In many different contexts, changes in the education system have often been motivated by a political will to diminish social inequality and to counteract social exclusion.