Alabama has been one of the poorest states since the U.S. Census began gathering data in 1790. The purpose of the quantitative study was to evaluate human capital as an economic development tool in Alabama. The study evaluated relationships between human capital and economic development from 1950-2000 within the context of human capital theory. The research questions addressed the relationship between human capital and economic development at the county level and were analyzed using cross-sectional longitudinal analyses. Multilevel regressions were used to estimate the relationships at the p < .05 level. Government records provided the data. Results indicated a significant causal relationship from investment in human capital to economic development. Every one percentage point increase in human capital investment caused an increase of 13,440 jobs per county. Non-rural counties added 34,786 jobs for every one percentage point increase in human capital, but rural counties did not gain a significant return on human capital investment. The extremely low populations of the rural counties, coupled with outmigration of educated workers, were likely causes of this outcome. Results demonstrated that the gap between economic development in counties that invest in human capital and those who do not has been widening since 1950, and that human capital was the most significant variable in determining economic development. Increasingly strong correlations between human capital and economic development were found in each decade and were significant at the p < .01 level. The results help policy makers in economic development efforts by quantifying returns to human capital investments. Policy recommendations include increasing human capital investment, promoting stable in-tact families, and attracting educated workers back to rural counties once they finish their education. Recommendations for future research include how family environments contribute to a county's business, labor, and economic landscapes, and how human capital and family social capital interact to improve economic outcomes.
|Advisor:||Steiner, Tom L.|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Management, Economics, Economics|
|Keywords:||Alabama, Economic development, Educational attainment, Human capital, Job creation, Labor market development, Rural growth|
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