Evaluation of Return to Investment in Human Capital in Lithuania in the Context of Other Countries
Keywords:Human capital, Investment in human capital, Costs, Benefits, Rate of return
The research literature presents a strong positive relationship between economic development and human capital, which is usually measured by education. The standard approach assumes that an individual invests some time in education, and then it shows up in terms of enhanced future earnings as a return, i.e. investment in education helps to increase the individuals’ future earnings. How much to invest in education is one of the most important economic decisions that individuals have to face. Hundreds of studies in many different countries and time periods have confirmed that better-educated individuals earn higher wages, suffer less unemployment and work in more prestigious occupations, have other social returns like honour and status than their less-educated counterparts. This positive correlation between education (schooling) and earnings is well established in the empirical literature.
Despite the fact, that the rate of return to education (human capital) has been widely studied in the world since the late 1950s and even though hundreds of papers have studied this issue in various countries at different time periods and with alternative estimation methods, studies concerning Lithuania’s case remain limited. This study focuses on the evaluation of investments in human capital.
Problem question raised: Once education, which plays a very important role in development and growth of a country, is treated as an investment, the immediate natural question is: what is the profitability of this investment comparing to alternatives? Therefore it is important to investigate the return to investment in education in order to evaluate effectiveness of investments in human capital in Lithuania and compare it to the other countries in the development process.
The object of the research – the return to investment in human capital.
The aim of the research is to estimate the private rate of return to human capital in Lithuania and to study the changes of these returns during the time (2003-2011) and compare calculated data with analogical data in other countries.
In the first part of the paper the concept of “human capital” is defined, before estimating the returns to human capital. In order to reveal the return to investment in human capital, it was limited to investment in education overview. Further, the research methodology is presented. One of the main ways to calculate the rate of returns to investment in human capital, which is used in the empirical practice, is the “full-discounting” or “elaborate” method, which consists in calculating the internal rate of return, was employed. 2003-2011 statistical data were used for the study.
The conclusions reveal that the rate of return to investment in human capital varies over time and rate of return for females is lower than for males. The rate of return of investment in human capital varies, reflecting the effect of constantly decreasing income tax, average wage and cost changes of higher increments of education (increase / decrease).After comparing Lithuania’s and other countries’ rate of return on investment in human capital, it is seen that private rate of return in Lithuania is similar to Denmark, Spain, Finland, Germany and USA. Compared to neighbour countries Latvia and Estonia, the return on investment in human capital is also similar to that in Lithuania.