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Abstract

Empirical growth regressions typically include mean years of schooling as a proxy for human capital. However, empirical research often finds that the sign and significance of schooling depends on the sample of observations or the specification of the model. We use a non-parametric local-linear regression estimator and a non-parametric variable relevance test to conduct a rigorous and systematic search for significance of mean years of schooling by examining five of the most comprehensive schooling databases. Contrary to a few recent articles that have identified significant nonlinearities between education and growth, our results suggest that mean years of schooling is not a statistically relevant variable in growth regressions. However, we do find evidence (within a cross-sectional framework), that educational achievement, measured by mean test scores, may provide a more reliable measure of human capital than mean years of schooling.