• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Human Capital

Human capital refers to the productive capacity—knowledge, skills, health, and so on—embodied in the labor force. The term is often used to refer to collectives (e.g., “the stock of human capital”) but also may refer to individuals (e.g., “wage growth as evidence of an individual’s investment in human capital”). This entry further explains the concept of human capital and the contemporary usage of the term, then examines human capital narratives in the context of higher education. It ends with a discussion of concerns about the concept of human capital and its use in the analysis of higher education.

Although the term human capital has a relatively long history in economics, its contemporary usage is most commonly associated with mid-20th-century work by Gary Becker, Jacob Mincer, and ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles