Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



An International Perspective on Pakistani Human Capital Investments in the Last Quarter Century

The objective of this paper is to place Pakistani human capital investments in the past quarter century in an international perspective. As background, a simple analytical perspective is presented first. Then empirical experience from various developing countries is summarised. This relates to some dimensions of the determinants and the impact of human capital investments and related policies. Next, various dimensions of Pakistani human capital investments in schooling and health are compared with the international experience of the past quarter century, controlling for per capita income and initial literacy rates and subject to caveates about such comparisons. These comparisons suggest that, in the aggregate, Pakistan has had relatively low investments in schooling and relatively high investments in health. Consideration of the composition of these investments suggests that, in a comparative sense, Pakistani investments have been skewed towards higher rather than basic education, towards physician-intensive curative rather than basic preventative health care, towards males relative to females, and towards middleand upper-income groups that tend to benefit more from post-primary schooling and from physician-related health services. The concluding section speculates on the implications of this perspective for Pakistani human capital investment policies.

Jere R. Behrman, Ryan Schneider

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