RETURN ON HUMAN CAPITAL INVESTMENT: CASE STUDY ON THE EXAMPLE OF REGULAR STUDENTS OF ECONOMICS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
; University of Rijeka, Faculty of economics
Ivan Rubinić orcid.org/0000-0003-3352-3898 ; Faculty of Law, University of Rijeka
Robert Matić ; Administrative department for asset management and general aff airs in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
From the viewpoint of modern economic actors, investment in education in general, with special emphasis on university education, represents a capital investment which is becoming one of the most fundamental factors of modern knowledge-based economies. When
making investments in the conventional sense, the agent takes into account the expected costs and benefi ts, accordingly evaluates the potential success of the project and makes a decision on the placement of capital. On the other hand, when investment is made in human capital, economic viability is commonly overlooked since such investment is of a long-term nature and begins to bring benefits aft er more than a decade, which has significant implications on risk assessment and consequently, on the success of the investment itself. In accordance with the above, this paper presents an analysis of the costs of investment in education, the expected benefits, opportunity cost („given up“ income) and the time necessary for the investment to pay off . The research was carried out on regular students of faculties of economics of the universities of Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek. Investment in university education was evaluated from the aspect of long-term outcome, with the main research question being whether the potential benefi ts in the form of increased income in the future will exceed the costs of the initial investment and the missed alternative. The results of the analysis revealed that the examined investment in university education is indeed cost-eff ective. The investment payback period for students receiving state scholarships
(not paying tuition fees themselves) equals 9.1 years, while for students who pay the market price of tuition fees, the payback period equals 10.0 years. Assuming that the student enrols in university after finishing secondary school (at the age of 20), a full return on the investment shall be made when they turn 34 or 35 (in accordance with the model’s limitations). Soundness of the model was tested on an example from practice including public service employees. The case in question, with minimum deviations, confirmed the assumption of viability of investments as well as the importance and necessity of education in the lives of modern economic actors, as the main hypothesis of this paper.
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