A Human Capital Agenda for Educational and Economic Development

The proposal aims at developing scholarly and instructional activities concerning “human capital.”

This intangible asset represents a store of human knowledge and productive capacity, which can be augmented through formal education, training, investments in health and wellness, and informal channels of knowledge transfer. Human capital is increasingly recognized as the engine of economic growth and social mobility in the global information economy of the 21st century. A focus on human capital is also compatible with the University’s basic mission.

We have assembled highly accomplished faculty in Economics (CAS), the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and other supporting CAS and SMBS units who are interested in advancing collaboratively a human capital agenda. The Center for Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development [Center], founded in 2007 with a NYSTAR grant, will coordinate this agenda.

The agenda aims to transform the Center into an innovative, interdisciplinary Institute for Studies on Human Capital in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education, by launching joint research and learning programs built on existing strengths and leveraged on existing resources. We will conduct collaborative research on major educational policy issues including the efficiency of comparative education/financing systems, the private and social returns on investments in learning and training, and the role of human capital in promoting economic development. We also plan to launch an innovative MA program in economics and educational policy with an international orientation designed for education leaders, as well as a visitors program. Resources from the E-fund will be used to launch these projects and enable coordinated hiring of new faculty that would contribute to these projects and their sustainability. Our agenda emphasizes cross-disciplinary cooperation in research, grant-generation, and teaching; promotes policy analysis and civic engagement; and enhances UB’s reputation and ranking, consistent with 3E goals and UB’s 2020 strategic plans.