Human Capital Across the Life Cycle

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Human Capital Across the Life Cycle

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Behavioral Science, Economics, Social Policy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    fter following this course, the student is able to understand the concept of Human Capital, its origins early in life, how it is influenced by individual decision making concerning education and health and how it relates to productivity, growth and health care consumption and the distribution of health. This course is an introduction to the economics of human capital with an emphasis on applied microeconomic theory and empirical analysis.

    After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
    - demonstrate an understanding of the theories of investment in schooling and training, the production of health and theories on discrimination in the labor market (Knowledge).
    - demonstrate knowledge of the interplay between health, education, work and income across the life cycle (Knowledge);
    - apply modern economic theories in the field of education and health to practical policy problems (Bridging Theory and Practice);
    - demonstrate an understanding of how technological change, globalization and institutional forces shape labor market performance (Knowledge, Quantitative skills);
    - make well founded decisions about the appropriate methods to assess the returns to education and assess discrimination (Quantitative skills);
    - make well founded decisions about the appropriate methods to assess the effect of health on labor market outcome and vice versa (Quantitative skills);
    - discuss critically existing empirical evidence (Research skills);
    - perform own empirical analysis by means of a replication exercise (Academic skills, Broadening your horizon).

    Human capital can be viewed as capital derived from investments in education and health. Both factors determine the returns on the labor market (work outcomes, income and wealth) and in general individual well-being. The joint distribution of education, work, income and health evolves across the life cycles of individuals as they grow from childhood, where they make educational choices, to adolescence and when they enter the labor market till prime ages and later when they enter the phase from working age into retirement. In the final stage the larger part of health care is consumed.

    The course starts with an overview of some stylized facts concerning the returns to education, labour and health. Next, we introduce the most important microeconomic models of investment behavior in the field of education, labor (search) and health. Throughout the course, theories are confronted with empirical papers that test these theories and their consequences for public policy in the area of education, income, health and work. Finally, we address the issue of how to appropriately test for discrimination and evaluate the effectiveness of public and social policies in the field of education, income, health and work.


    Written (closed book) exam – Individual assessment.
    Presentation of papers in groups of 2.
    aper in groups of 2.

    Microeconomics I.

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