The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach: Comment

Authors: Francesco Caselli and Antonio Ciccone

American Economic Review, Vol. 109, No 3, 1155-1174, March, 2019

Jones (2014) examines development accounting with imperfect substitutability between different types of skills in the production of output. He finds that human capital variation can account for the totality of the variation in income across countries. We show that this finding is entirely due to an assumption that the relative wage of skilled workers is solely determined by attributes of workers (once the supply of skilled workers is accounted for). If skill premia are predominantly determined by technology, institutions, and other features of the economic environment, human capital differences explain none of the variation in income per worker.