Education is one of the most important elements for the productivity growth. Human capital theory from the macroeconomic viewpoint has been focusing on the relationship between education which is typically measured by education attainments of the people and the economic growth. But little attention has been given to the relationship between the deviation or inequality of the schooling years of the people and its level in the growing economy. This question then drives us to the examination of the existence of so-called Education Kuznets Curve – an inverted U-shaped relationship between the educational inequality and the average schooling years of the people.
Among a few studies which examined the existence of Education Kuznets Curve, the evidence in the literature thus far is not very consistent. Some studies, which used the international cross-section data, reported the indication of its existence, other showed the opposite.
In this study, our target of the analysis is on the Chinese economy and its all 31 provinces. Along with the rapid growth of economy, the average schooling years of the people in China are also increasing rapidly due to higher education expansion. As an educational inequality index, Gini coefficient based on the schooling years of the people is employed. By carrying out the regression analysis with the panel unit root and cointegration tests, the existence of the Education Kuznets Curve including the causal relationship, in a sense of Granger, between education inequality and its level is tested. Among the preceding studies, little attention has been given to the time-series stationarity of the variables related to the Education Kuznets Curve. The Chinese provincial panel data (1997-2007) officially published by National Bureau of Statistics of China are used.
The estimating results show that there is the (not inverted) U-shaped relationship between Education Gini coefficients and the average of schooling years of the people in Chinese provinces. Also, based on the estimating results, the role of education in regional economic growth in China is discussed.
Key Words: China; educational expansion, Education Kuznets curve; causality