Transforming the demographic dividend into an education dividend: evidence from Latin America

Paulo M. Saad, United Nations
Timothy Miller, CEPAL
Ciro Martinez, Centro Latinoamericano de DemografĂ­a (CELADE)

Human capital investments in Latin America are low relative to those in OECD countries and age strucure differences between regions account for about half of this gap. As this analysis makes clear, future changes in educational dependency rates will substantially ease demographic constraints on education financing bring within reach univeral secondary education (an MDG+ goal) in virtually all Latin American countries. In addition, more ambitious educational goals such as reaching OECD levels of investment per student will also become increasingly within reach. However, reaching these goals by simply waiting for the demographic dividend to arrive would lead to substantial social and economic losses in waiting for another 1 or 2 generations. Present value calculations indicate that the education dividend over the next decades is large enough to pay for the costs in reaching these goals immediately. Hence, governments and international donors should undertake all possible means to reach these goals now.

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Presented in Session 80: The economic aspects of population ageing