Human capital formation and school expansion in Asia: Does a unique regional model exist?

David P. Baker, Donald B. Holsinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Human capital formation through the expansion of formal schooling has long been cited as a fundamental part of the "Asia-Pacific Rim economic miracle." Development scholars often assume that there is a distinctly Asian model of state-sponsored school expansion because of both the cultural and institutional uniqueness of the region. This assumption is questioned here and tested with panel data (1960 to 1990) for secondary school enrollments and other indicators. A cross-regional comparison of the expansion of secondary school enrollments finds little evidence for a sustained unique Asian approach to education expansion, in that: 1) Asia is not leading the developing world in educational expansion, and 2) there is extensive variation in educational development within the region. This is followed by a short case study that compares contrasting national educational policies and expansion outcomes in two developing Asian countries. We conclude that human capital formation through school expansion is best thought of as an unevenly applied world-wide process, with little importance attached to regional cultural uniqueness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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