Cover: Human Capital Theory: Education, Discrimination, and Lifecycles.

Human Capital Theory: Education, Discrimination, and Lifecycles.

Published 1975

by Finis Welch

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback24 pages $20.00

Discusses the current state of knowledge about, and the most important unsettled issues in, three topics that are part of the overall question of income distributions: wealth distributions and lifecycle earnings profiles; sources of income returns to schooling; and race differences in income. Lifecycle earning patterns are the core of human capital theory; the other two topics are commonly associated with it but are not necessarily related to it. There appears to be no human capital theory of discrimination, for example. In spite of theoretical difficulties, however, the argument that income-schooling relationships are causal remains intact. Recent developments in the theory take, as their point of departure, recognition of the fundamental role played by the cost of human time in the allocation of time; more than any other insight, this may prove to be the most valuable contribution of human capital theory. 24 pp. Ref.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.