the lack thereof, can be an indicator of a failure to comply with labor standards, as discussed in the chapter on child labor. Human capital investments have also been cited in previous chapters as associated factors with respect to other labor standards, such as elimination of discrimination. Investments in human capital may also represent a tool for compliance with labor standards, and this compliance in turn may result in greater investments in human capital and an increase in the development capacity of a country.
In the committee’s analysis, human capital includes both formal education—that is, primary, secondary, and tertiary education offered through traditional schooling—and nonformal education and training that may be available to both children and adults. Nonformal programs may include, for instance, vocational training, apprenticeships, literacy programs, and other programs by which both children and adults can obtain learning and job skills.
Because this chapter explores new territory, it differs from previous ones: rather than exploring definitional issues and data sources and quality, it reviews empirical work on education, training, economic development, and labor standards and presents ideas for future research. A framework of human capital measures is offered as a means of assessing a country’s level of investment in education and training. In contrast to the indicators in previous chapters which are proposed as tools for measuring compliance toward core labor standards, the measures in this chapter provide contextual background that links with the core standards.
This chapter focuses on the role of human capital as a catalyst in improving observance of core international labor standards. It reviews the empirical work on the measurement of direct and indirect effects of education on labor standards; proposes a broad framework of educational indicators to assess educational attainment in a country; and lays out a research agenda in broad terms to explore the linkages between human capital and labor standards compliance, particularly in developing countries.
While this chapter focuses on the linkage in terms of human capital investment enhancing labor standards compliance, the relationship can also be examined in the other direction—in terms of labor standards being a form of human capital investment. Workers with the right to unionize and bargain collectively might fight for more or better quality education and training. Groups who are free from discrimination or forced labor have equal access to education and training and greater incentive to invest in their own human capital. Children who attend school regularly become