Investment in Higher Education as a Tool essay

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Investment in Higher Education as a Tool for Promoting a Stronger Economy: Examining the Literature Reviews of Previous Dissertations

The following research is an exercise where three dissertations under a similar topic were mined in order to better understand their organizational structure, thematic content, and approach to examining the current discourse. The primary topic here is going to highlight how reinvestment into higher education can help facilitate for a stronger, more stable economy based on a number of factors and indicators. The research which follows explores three similar dissertations that show a clear connection between investment in higher education and positive economic factors.


Carnoy, Martin. (2006). Working paper no. 297: Higher education and economic development: India, China, and the 21st century. Stanford Center for International Development. Web.

I. Education and Economic Growth

A. Macroeconomic Approaches to the Education-Economic Growth Relation

i. Previous studies have shown that when there is a higher level of education per work, those workers tend to have higher levels of output.

ii. The issue should be studied from a macroeconomic perspective, where "the relation between education and economic growth emphasizes the correlation between the stock of human capital and the increase in economic output per capita" (6).

iii. Thus, higher education increases the quality and ability of human workers, therefore stabilizing the overall economy.

B. Macroeconomic Approaches to Education-Education Growth Relation

i. This section explores how the economic boom of the 1980s was in many ways correlated with the increase in individuals attaining a higher education.

ii. The capabilities of the workers of a country contribute to the overall wealth and stability of a nation, thus education empowers the human capital.

C. Microeconomic Approaches to the Education-Economic Growth Relation

i. The study then moves to show how previous literature has examined the changes occurring overseas in China and India.

ii. Increasing investment in China has resulted in increased working capital of its workers, which has helped augment the economic boom.

II. How Is Higher Education Changing in the BRIC Economies?

A. Expansion of Enrollment

i. Educational enrollment in the BRIC nations has increased significantly.

ii. As such, this has forced these countries to invest more in higher education as a way to be prepared to deal with these increasing numbers.

iii. China has increased spending on higher education, which has secured strong economic growth. This has other nations worrying that they will fall behind China's educational capabilities.

B. The Changing Financing of Higher Education

i. Public funds are now being used to reinvest into higher education, rather than relying on private donations to fund higher education.

ii. This has resulted in better education for students in regions such as China and India.


Broad Topic

Lucas (1988)


Romer (1990)


Barro (1990)


Azariadis and Drazen (1990)


Mankiw, Romer and Weil (1992)


Fleischer, 2002

International Economics

Dissertation 2

Howe, Caroline. (2009). The Role of Education as a Tool for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development. Imperial College London. Web.,caroline09.pdf

I. Evolution of the Darwin Initiative

A. The Establishment of the Darwin Initiative

i. This section discusses the establishment of the Darwin initiative done by the British Government, which aims to increase funding and facilitation for higher educational programs aimed at programs dealing with sustainability.

ii. The nation has since increased public funding for higher education programs involved in sustainable practice, which is essentially an investment in the future considering that greener technologies will come to dominate the arena.

B. Reporting with the Darwin Initiative

i. The section discusses the amount of funding that has been invested and how those funds have been used to augment programs in higher education.

II. Return-on-Investment in Education as a Component of Conservation Interventions

A. Introduction

i. This section explores how higher education has been crucial to the installment of a new consciousness, one which aims to increase biodiversity and allow for more conservation.

ii. It discusses how public investment into higher education can help empower local regions and communities, especially those areas which are most economically vulnerable.

iii. By funding higher education, vulnerable economies can find stability with the fact that they can become hotbeds for new sustainable industries.


Broad Topic

UN (1992)

Environmental Issues

CBD (1992)


Defra (2009)

Public Education

Possingham et al. (2001)


Joseph et al. (2009)

International Economics

Brooks et al. (2006)

International Economics

Underwood et al. (2008)


Dissertation 3

Lundvall, Bengt-Ake. (2007) Higher education, innovation and economic development. Department of Business Studies Aalborg University, Denmark. Web.

I. Graduates as Equilibrators and Innovators

A. Two Attempts to Explain Why Higher Education Contributes to Economic Growth

i. Explores the analytic process of using "social rates of higher return" in order to judge the effectiveness of investing in higher education in regards to creating a more stable economy and society overall (Lundvall, 2007, p 6).

ii. First looks at Nelson and Phelps (1965) to present a different methodology of thinking. Here, the concept is driven on the idea that those who attend higher education tend to contribute to economic growth in two major ways. First, they are more efficient, thus making them a more productive member of society who can contribute more in the same duration of time compared to other less skilled workers. Secondly, the knowledge learned in higher education allows these workers to adapt and succeed more with the changes in technology, making them more innovative contributors the welfare of their industry as it evolves through advancements in technology. This illustrates that "the rate of return in higher education will be positively correlated with the rate of technical progress" (Lundvall, 2007, p 6).

iii. Schultz (1979) shows how investment in higher education of all classes increases the overall productivity of a number of very different industries, including agriculture. Schultz focused his analysis on Indian investment in higher education for farmers. Overall, the analysis found that investment allows for an individual to have more adaptability to changing technologies and working conditions.

B. The Graduate as Innovator: Some Results from Empirical Analysis

i. Examining studies using survey data from large business firms show that when an individual has more education, they have a stronger ability to be innovative within the context of the work environment.

ii. Employees with gradate degrees contribute the most too small to medium sized firms, where they have more room and authority to innovate and act on their critical analysis of the constantly changing situation.

iii. Yet, smaller and family operated firms tend to be hesitant to hire individuals with higher education, opting instead for individuals with more field experience.

C. Higher Education Produces Both Equilibrators and Innovators

i. Individuals with higher education can bump up productivity levels and provide a way for modern firms to adapt to changes in technology and business advancements.

II. Higher Education in the Learning Economy

A. The learning Economy as a Response to the Acceleration in Change

i. This section illustrates how fast job skills are becoming obsolete based on such rapid changes in technology. This makes it crucial for workers to have a broader education, often provided by higher education that would help empower such workers to be able to adapt to such changes, rather than fall out of use.

B. How Europe's Economies Learn.

i. Some nations have begun making changes in their investment in higher education and have seen favorable results in their economies.

ii. There has been a large emphasis on discretionary learning, where responsibility goes on the employee for keeping up their education in order to adapt to changes in technology.

C. Education and Training for Learning Organizations

i. There is an importance for the modern business organization to offer ways to continue learning in lieu of governments investing more in higher education.


Broad Topic

Nelson and Phelps (1965)

Economics and Technology

Schultz (1979)

International Economics

Backhouse (2004)


Drejer (1999)

Business Economics

Vinding (2002)

Business Economics

Pedersen (2005)

Business Economics

Jensen et al. (2007)

Business Management

Nielsen (2006)

Business Management


There were both similar and different organizational structures used within the dissertations explored. Two out of the three dissertations used very similar organizational structures. These were based on chunking sections in accordance with general themes. For example, Lundvall organized thematically, and goes from one section to the other based on a theme style structure. Graduates as innovators and equilibrators were in separate sections, followed by a section concentrated more on economic factors. Carnoy also uses a thematic structure to the organization of the dissertation. Thus, the information flowed logically, as the reader mastered unknown subjects and topics and then went on to understand another correlating factor in the larger situational environment. However, there was one dissertation in the group that used a completely different structure. Howe uses a dramatically different organizational structure, one which is split based on theme, but presented in a much more fragmented manner. This dissertation provides a literature review within the context of each of the other chapters. Thus, there is a literature for the methodology section,…[continue]

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