Thinking of what we learn, xkcd gives us a somewhat lighthearted perspective:
But much more seriously, globally, Covid has impacted education.
Our Global Learning Crisis
McKinsey took a look at the educational cost of Covid. Covering 102 weeks, their data indicated that Latin American, Caribbean, and South Asian students lost the most in-person days at school:
Correspondingly, the learning delay was longest for South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean:
Our Bottom Line: Production Possibilities Frontiers
While production possibilities (pp) graphs typically tell us if we are optimally using our land, labor, and capital, they could also let us easily see the impact of Covid on human capital through the reduced potential for labor.
Whenever we add to our knowledge, we build our human capital. But since it all starts on the day we are born, the investment in education could take 18 years or more to provide a return. The result? It might be awhile before we see the impact of Covid on our productive potential.
On the graph, the curve represents the maximum production capability while the position of a dot conveys the land, labor, and capital efficiency at a given point in time. Below, the dot labeled “A” could reflect why we can say we have a global learning crisis. It represents the world’s regions whose educational systems were hardest hit by the the pandemic. At the same times, “B,” positioned closer to the curve, has sacrificed less:
My sources and more: Thanks to Timothy Taylor’s always interesting Conversable Economist for alerting me to the McKinsey Report. Then though, I also recommend returning to our econlife post with a pre-Covid human capital index. (Our featured image is from a World Bank video on the Human Capital Index.)