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High Skills: Globalisation, Competitiveness and Comparative Skill Formation


The ‘High Skills’ project was the first to offer a comparative examine of the global economy and ‘high skills’ policies. It involved a detailed comparative study of education, training, and labour market issues in Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States. Our findings were based on over 250 interviews with key policy-makers and stakeholders. It took three years to complete (1997-2000) and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The main findings are presented in  High Skills: Globalization, Competitiveness and Skill Formation (Oxford University Press, 2001), and has been internationally influential in academic and policy debates. A presentation was made to the Committee on New American Realities, National Policy Association, Boston, and more recently we have contributed to issues of skill formation and social justice in South Africa. See Debating High Skills and Joined Up Policy, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa, free download. This project was also judged as ‘outstanding’ by the ESRC.

Aims of Project

1.  To conduct a study of different routes to a high skills economy in Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea the United Kingdom and United States.

2.  To contribute to the development of education, training and labour market policies through an evaluation of 'best' practice.

3.  To develop a comparative theory of skill formation in the context of rapid technological change and intense global economic competition.

 4. To contribute to our understanding of the role of transnational    corporations in national strategies to achieving a high skills economy



Brown, P, Green, A., and Lauder, H. (2001) High Skills: Globalization, Competitiveness and Skill Formation, Oxford: Oxford University Press. More...

Brown, P, Lauder, H,  Kraak, A, and Ashton, D. Debating High Skills and Joined Up Policy, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa, free download.

Brown, P. and Lauder, H. (2001) Capitalism and Social Progress: The Future of Society in a Global Economy, Baskingstoke/New York: Palgrave (esp. Chapter 15). More...

Brown, P. and Lauder, H.  (2001) ‘The Future of Skill Formation in Singapore’, Asia Pacific Business Review, 7,3,113-38

Brown, P. (1999) Globalisation and the Political Economy of High Skills, Journal of Education and Work, Vol.12 No3.

Brown, P. (2001) ‘A Strategy for Skill Formation in Britain’, in F.Coffield (Ed.) What Progress Are We Making With Lifelong Learning?, Copies available from the Department of Education, University of Newcastle.

Brown, P.  (2000) The Globalisation of Positional Competition?, Sociology, 34, 633-53.

Green, A. (1997) Education, Globalization and the Nation State, Macmillan.

Green, A. (2000) Converging Paths or Ships Passing in the Night? An ‘English’ Critique Japanese School Reform, Journal of Comparative Education, 36 (4). 

Green, A. (1999) East Asian Skills Formation Systems and the Challenge of Globalization, Journal of Education and Work, 21 (3),  pp.253-279.

Green, A. (1999) Education and Globalization in Europe and Asia: Convergent and Divergent Trends, Journal of Education Policy, 14 (1), pp.55-71.

Selwyn, N. and Brown, P. ‘Education, (2000) Nation States and the Globalisation of Information Networks’,  Journal of Education Policy, 15, 661-82.