If a nation sends all its children to school, can it count on greater economic growth? Does putting bottoms in seats generate human capital? This week, Russ welcomed back the Hoover Institution’s Eric Hanushek.

What did you think of this episode? What did it make you think more about?

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1. What additional question(s) would you have asked Hanushek?

2. Hanushek suggests a causal relationship between academic achievement and economic growth in a nation, What is the nature of Russ’s concern about “reverse causation?” To what extent do you find Hanushek’s claim plausible?3. Hanushek suggests three different ways to look at the post-2015 Millennium Goals under consideration. What are these three ways, and which do you think ought to be the focus of the next round of goals? Explain.

4. Hanushek argues (in this as well as previous EconTalk episodes) that “better teachers” are the simplest answer to improving a nation’s education and skill base. Both he and Russ also note that defining the characteristics of great teachers is difficult. Have you ever had a teacher you consider exceptional? How did that teacher influence your life (professional and/or personal)? How can a nation ensure more students would have a teacher like this one?