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The Impact of Higher Education on Economic Growth in ASEAN-5 Countries

Paravee Maneejuk () and Woraphon Yamaka ()
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Paravee Maneejuk: Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Woraphon Yamaka: Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 2, 1-28

Abstract: This study analyzed the nonlinear impacts of education, particularly higher education, on economic growth in the ASEAN-5 countries (i.e., Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines) over the period 2000–2018. The impacts of education on economic growth are assessed through various education indicators, consisting of public expenditure on tertiary education per student, enrolment rates of primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, educated workforce, and the novel indicator of unemployment rates with advanced education. This study establishes nonlinear regression models—the time-series kink regression and the panel kink regression—to investigate the kink effects of education on the individual country’s economic growth and the ASEAN-5 region, respectively. There are three main findings. Firstly, the nonlinear effects of the government expenditure per tertiary student on economic growth are confirmed for the ASEAN-5 region. However, the impacts do not follow the law of diminishing returns. Secondly, our findings reveal that an increase in unemployment of advanced educated workers can positively or negatively impact economic growth, which requires an appropriate policy to handle the negative impacts. Lastly, secondary and higher education enrollment rates can contribute to the ASEAN-5’s economic growth (both the individual and regional levels). However, the regional analysis reveals that higher education impacts become twice as strong when the enrollment rates are greater than a certain level (a kink point). Therefore, we may conclude that secondary enrollment rates positively affect economic growth; however, higher education is the key to future growth and sustainability.

Keywords: education; higher education; economic growth; nonlinear; kink regression; ASEAN-5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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