Working Paper No. 09-05

Globalization and Investment in Human Capital
Daniel C. Hickman and William W. Olney
August 2009; revised November 2009


Workers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that globalization has on their domestic labor market. While existing research typically focuses on the effects on labor market outcomes such as wages and employment, we examine whether American workers respond to globalization by increasing their investment in human capital. Specifically, we measure the extent to which offshoring and immigration affect enrollment at institutions of higher education. The results indicate that both offshoring and immigration increase enrollment at community colleges, particularly among older students. We conclude that workers in the U.S. are responding to offshoring and immigration by acquiring the skills necessary to compete in a global economy.

JEL classification: F16, I2, J24
Keywords: globalization, higher education, enrollment, offshoring, immigration