THE EFFECT OF HUMAN CAPITAL ON ECONOMIC GROWTH: EVIDENCE FROM KAZAKH REGIONS
Keywords:Kazakhstan, human capital, region, economic growth, total factor productivity, gross regional product, average years of schooling, percentage of population with higher education, infant mortality rate, life expectancy at birth
The importance of human capital for economic growth is now widely recognised and has been studied extensively. However, the influence of human capital on economic growth of Kazakhstan has not yet been studied fully enough. In particular, to the best of the knowledge, there are no studies that use various approximations of human capital and utilise both direct and indirect approaches. Using educational and health indicators, this paper tests empirically how human capital influences economic growth of Kazakh regions over the period 1994-2019 both as a production function and through total factor productivity (TFP). The analysis revealed that human capital is insignificant as a production factor but has significant indirect effect on the TFP growth rate. The latter is realised through the ability to imitate and introduce new technologies from outside rather than through the domestic innovation. The scientific novelty of this research is as follows. Firstly, it uses both educational and health approximations of human capital. Secondly, it studies how human capital influences economic growth of the Kazakh regions both directly as a production factor and indirectly through TFP. Thirdly, it checks for the presence of spatial dependence in data across Kazakhstan regions. Fourthly, it constructs average years of schooling data across the regions of the country. The results of the study are important for designing policies to increase economic growth of the country and its regions. As a further development of this work, it seems interesting to use other approximations of human capital.
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