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What does the lost decades of education mean for the economy?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes to blame businesses for economic problems.He says they failed to invest in their staff and Claim Brexit will rock the country from “a broken model with low growth, low skills and low productivity”. All of this is made possible and supported by uncontrolled immigrants. But what about domestic workers who are expected to drive this shift to a “high-wage, high-skilled, high-productivity” economy?

In that regard, his own government has also failed to invest. NS report School spending per student in the UK fell by a real 9% between 2009 and 2019, according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last week. The ax has decreased unequally. Spending per student compared to a 9% decline in the least disadvantaged schools. According to the IFS, this pressure on school resources is “a de facto unprecedented in postwar British history.” Meanwhile, spending on adult education fell 49%.

The teacher’s salary was one victim.Salaries for new and inexperienced teachers are about 4-5 percent Low Substantially more than 14 years ago. More experienced teachers are experiencing a substantial 8% reduction.

Is this a problem for the economy? Economists have found it surprisingly difficult over the years to test the link between education spending and outcomes. With long time lags and many confounding factors, it is difficult to find counterfacts.

International evidence of current UK educational outcomes varies: OECD Pisa score It suggests that British students are doing better than students in other countries at the age of 15, Another survey The percentage of adult skills suggests that people between the ages of 16 and 24 in England and Northern Ireland have poor literacy and computing skills by rich world standards. The study suggests that England is one of the few OECD countries with less literacy and computing power than young people between the ages of 55 and 65.

IFS researcher Luke Sibieta says data can’t tell much about the impact of reductions over the last decade. “The benefits of higher spending, or the cost of reducing it, are always felt in 20, 30, and 40 years,” he says.

Still, it may not be possible to derive its impact from what happened in the labor market. In contrast, there are videos that reduce spending on things like hospitals and eventually circulate people in makeshift trolleys in the hallways. “It makes it harder to make claims about education spending,” he says.

Still, a series of recent studies support the idea that money is important when it comes to education.Fluctuations in U.S. state spending have enabled quasi-experiments the study It primarily finds a strong link between spending and outcomes.

NS British studies Investigations into the impact of additional funding on some urban secondary schools have shown positive impacts, primarily within more disadvantaged schools, especially within those schools. I felt it in my high school grades.

The Johnson administration now seems to agree that money makes a difference, especially given the closure of schools during a pandemic.It will be Increase spending About education for the next 3 years through IFS Calculate Boost is sufficient to bring school spending per student back to 2010 levels by 2024. Additional funding for adult education and apprenticeship will reduce spending in this area by 15% below 2009 levels.

Like any other policy area, Transportation infrastructure NS Social careThe government has great ambitions, but it’s only half-hearted with its purse. The lost decades of education spending are not the ideal starting point for a bold new economic strategy based on declining immigration, improving skills and “equalizing” inequality.

In total, education spending by 2024 will reach about 5% of national income, similar to that of the early 1970s. In contrast, health spending has risen from 3.5% to over 7%. Given the aging population, increased health spending is inevitable. This is a challenge shared by a huge number of countries, from South Korea to the United States.

But the British experience highlights a nasty problem. One of the clear policy challenges of this century is to care for the aging population without underinvesting in the youth that the future depends on.

sarah.oconnor@ft.com

What does the lost decades of education mean for the economy?

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