Higher education, employment and economic growth: exploring the interactions

SOURCE: Development Southern Africa
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): H.Bhorat, A.Cassim, D.Tseng
KEYWORDS: ECONOMIC GROWTH, EMPLOYMENT CREATION, HIGHER EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9278

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Abstract

This article interrogates the impact and nature of South Africa's post-apartheid economic growth performance through the lens of human capital investment with a particular emphasis on higher education. The South African economy has been characterised by a skills-biased trajectory, ensuring jobs for the better educated. By differentiating between tertiary and vocational training, we find that further education and training (FET) graduates are almost as likely to be employed as school leavers without higher education. We analyse the extent to which the educational attainments of labour affect the nature and trajectory of economic growth in South Africa, by estimating Olley and Pakes' two-stage regression on a modified Cobb-Douglas production function. The results indicate that the degree cohort contributes to economic growth whilst other higher education institutions, including FET colleges, do not productively contribute to economic growth.