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Education and Economic Development

Education is related to various kinds of development: individual human development, different dimensions of societal development (e.g., political and cultural), and national economic development. This entry focuses on the last relationship, between economic development and education, which can be understood from different perspectives, grounded in functionalist, conflict, or less structuralist social theories.

Functionalist Views

From a functionalist perspective, development is usually linked to the idea of modernization. Scholars and policy makers adopting this perspective stress that it is a normal and positive experience for undeveloped or developing nations' economies to come to model the economies of “modern” or “developed” nations (i.e., capitalist or “free market” systems). Based on assumptions of human capital theory, investment in education (schooling and nonformal education) is seen as building a nation's ...

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