Human capital

knowledge, skills, training and similar concepts, in economics

Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.


  • I conclude by listing several main points of this essay:
    1. Human capital is of great importance in the modern economy.
    2. Human capital has become of much greater significance during the past two decades.
    3. Human capital is crucial to the international division of labor.
    4. Much unmeasured learning goes on in companies and by adults.
    5. People need to invest in themselves during their whole lives.
    6. Distance learning will become of crucial importance to the teaching and learning process.
    7. Human capital stimulates technological innovations and the high-tech sector.
    • Gary Becker, "The Age of Human Capital", in Edward P. Lazear, Education in the Twenty-First Century (2002).
  • While human capital can take many forms, there is a tendency of some to equate it with formal education. However, not only may many other valuable forms of human capital be overlooked this way, the value of formal schooling may be exaggerated and its counterproductive consequences in some cases not understood.
    • Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 12. Investment and Speculation.
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