Eric Hanushek on the Education, Skills, and the Millennium Development Goals

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek (Podcast at

I don’t usually author short posts but I have some things to do tonight and I want to push this out into the aether.

Stanford University’s Hoover Institution is home to the Library of Economics and Liberty, a vast archive of economics material. Also, one has the benefit of listening to Russ Roberts interview some of the world’s best collection of thinkers. Not limited to economics, Russ interviews people from all walks of Life. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. Russ does a great job interviewing, plays the Devil’s Advocate when he sides with a guest, and challenges guests he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with. If you want to learn something about economics, geography, money, and received what could be construed as a world-class lecture on principles affecting all people, listen to the EconTalk podcast.

How important are basic skills for economic success and growth? Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the importance of basic education in math and literacy and their relationship to economic growth. Hanushek argues that excellence in educating people in basic skills leads to economic growth, especially in poorer countries where years of education may be a poor proxy for learning. He argues that the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals should emphasize outputs rather than inputs–performance on skill-based exams rather than years of education.

From; accessed 8-23-2015

Listening to Russ and Eric discuss global trends in education almost forced me to stop mowing my backyard a few times just so I could soak in the knowledge. Education is near-and-dear to my heart, so is geography, and this discussion essentially hit me where I live. If time and money would allow, I would spend good portions of my waking hours intensively researching this issue. But, on the other hand, Eric has done some phenomenal work.

If you care about education, and want to become educated about global education issues, and how the U.S. measures up with other countries, you should listen. I need to rephrase; “If you want a better understanding of how global education measures work, and where the U.S. might rank, and why, then listen to this podcast.”

EconTalk also provides great reading material for those wanting to dig deeper, plus a word-for-word transcript of each podcast. The resources plus the podcast itself makes EconTalk one of the best podcasts available, period.

And, if you’re polite, Russ Roberts may even tweet you back. PAX.

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