Human Capital Accounting in the United States: 1994 to 2006 (PDF)

This paper presents measures of the human capital stock and of investment in human capital for the United States between 1994 and 2006. When both market and non-market production are included, the stock of human capital was equal to about three quarters of a quadrillion dollars in 2006, of which about 70 percent was non-market. The account breaks down human capital investment among the effects of births, deaths, aging, and education on human capital, as well as a residual effect attributed to (unmeasured) migration. Measures of gross investment in education are found to be very sensitive to counterfactual assumptions; consequently, investment in education is measured net of aging.

This research was conducted under contract to the BEA as part of ongoing research into human capital accounts. The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Michael S. Christian