BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/42

Russia’s “human capital” (the knowledge, skills, talents and capabilities of its population) can be evaluated by different methods. Methods based on educational achievement and health measures are common, since an educated and healthy worker produces more and makes a longer career. Another approach is to value the population’s expected labour output at world market prices.

The World Bank’s Human Capital Project and the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Report are both based on education and health measures. A study published in The Lancet, a journal of medical science, also featured a similar assessment. Over 140 countries are covered in each of these comparisons. Russia’s highest ranking was 28th and lowest 49th, putting it among the lower half of European countries. China’s highest ranking was 44th and lowest 71st place.

Because health measures are given greater emphasis, The Lancet study even places China ahead of Russia. In health comparisons, Russia performs quite poorly: mortality of the working-age population is particularly high. On the other hand, Russia tends to be often ranked quite high based on the quality of education and level of education. All education yardsticks are not comparable, however. For example, the share of population with tertiary education (college, university, etc.) does not reflect the quality of such education.

An economic progress measurement approach is also used by the World Bank in its national wealth comparison. It gives similar results as other comparisons. Russia’s human capital wealth in 2014 was valued 91,000 dollars per capita, putting the country in 45th place. China, with an average of 63,000 dollars came in at 51st place. The average in OECD countries is 499,000 dollars.