The U.S. economy can gain $10 trillion in revenue by 2050 if America produces a greater number of professionals proficient in math and science, according to a study issued this week by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
But American students are lagging behind in these subjects, in contrast to students in smaller countries like Switzerland and Estonia who are scoring high marks.
The report cites the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment, in which American children were ranked 24th in the world, while their counterparts in Canada finished seventh and smaller countries like South Korea, Japan, Finland, Estonia and Switzerland took the top five positions.
The study points to the growing education gap within the United States, noting that if American pupils matched the academic achievement of Canadian students then U.S. economic growth would increase by an extra $10 trillion by 2050.
According to the report, plugging the performance gaps between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds alone can increase the country’s revenue by several trillion dollars.
“If these gaps were completely closed, then the U.S. economy would be 10 percent, or $4 trillion, larger in 2050. The cumulative increase in GDP by 2050 would amount to $14.7 trillion in present value, or $420 billion per year,” the report said.
“These gaps contribute to subsequent economic inequality, with the relatively poor performance of children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds reducing U.S. economic growth. Thus, closing income or class-based educational gaps would promote faster and more widely shared economic growth,” said Robert Lynch, fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, in the report.
To achieve this goal, the Center suggests, government should invest more in education. The authors of the study reason that an increase in the number of educated youth population will help foster skilled labor force overtime.