Mapping the Human Capital of the Nordic Countries



Paul Sharp
DKK 1.9 million. Funded by The Carlsberg Foundation (01-01-2020)

Title: Mapping the Human Capital of the Nordic Countries 
This project proposes to gather uniquely detailed individual level data on human capital in the Nordic countries from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the Second World War, an important period for the development of the region. Human capital is usually difficult to measure, and is often proxied by for example literacy, years of schooling, or years of work experience. For Denmark and Norway, however, extensive historical sources allow for the construction of much more detailed measures. The sources provide: 1. individual level information on grades achieved in individual subjects at various levels of education; and 2. biographical information on the universe of high school graduates, from which can be taken other information beyond formal education which is relevant for human capital: the entire career from graduation to retirement, travels, and much more. The infrastructure provided by this grant would allow us to finance the scanning of the necessary material at the Royal Library, to purchase a server so that we can exploit machine learning to construct a detailed database of human capital from these sources, and to finance the linking of our database to existing census records in Denmark and Norway, thus allowing for its exploitation in subsequent research projects concerning human capital.