Ludger Woessmann

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Ludger Woessmann is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was a Hoover Institution National Fellow in 2010 and a Visiting Scholar in 2014 and 2018.

Woessmann is Professor of Economics at the University of Munich and Director of the ifo Center for the Economics of Education at the ifo Institute. His main research interests are the determinants of long-run prosperity and of student achievement. He uses microeconometric methods to answer applied, policy-relevant questions of the economics of education, often using international student achievement tests. Special focuses address the importance of education for economic prosperity and the importance of institutions of the school systems for efficiency and equity. His latest book, The Knowledge Capital of Nations: Education and the Economics of Growth written jointly with Hoover Fellow Eric Hanushek, identifies the close link between the skills of the people and the economic growth of the nation and shows the economic impact of high quality schools. Further research topics cover aspects of economic history, economics of religion, and the Internet.

Woessmann is Member of the International Academy of Education, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech, and the Academic Advisory Council of the German Federal Ministry of Economics. He is co-editor of the Handbook of the Economics of Education. His work was rewarded, among others, with the Hermann Heinrich Gossen Award and the Gustav Stolper Award of the German Economic Association, the Young Economist Award of the European Economic Association, and the Choppin Memorial Award of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Woessmann studied economics at Marburg University and the University of Kent at Canterbury and received his PhD from the University of Kiel. He spent extended research visits at Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research. Google Scholar lists over 27,000 citations to his research.

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Recent Commentary

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Long-Run Trends In The U.S. SES-Achievement Gap

by Eric Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Laura M. Talpey, Ludger Woessmannvia Analysis
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Rising inequality in the United States has raised concerns about potentially widening gaps in educational achievement by socio-economic status (SES). Using assessments from LTT-NAEP, Main-NAEP, TIMSS, and PISA that are psychometrically linked over time, we trace trends in achievement for U.S. student cohorts born between 1954 and 2001. 


Apprenticeship Programs In A Changing Economic World

by Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmannvia EducationNext
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The nagging problem of significant numbers of youth leaving school unprepared for career employment has revitalized interest in vocational education, particularly apprenticeships. Support for vocational education comes from people across the political spectrum, from both labor and business groups, and from the popular media. The clearest manifestation in policy is President Trump’s executive order that calls for immediate expansion of existing apprenticeship programs while simultaneously disparaging the effectiveness of current education and training programs.


It Pays To Improve School Quality

by Eric Hanushek, Jens Ruhose, Ludger Woessmannvia Education Next
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

States that boost student achievement could reap large economic gains.

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The Knowledge Capital of Nations

by Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmannvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Thursday, January 7, 2016

In this book Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann make a simple, central claim, developed with rigorous theoretical and empirical support: knowledge is the key to a country’s development.


Teach The World

by Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmannvia Foreign Affairs
Friday, August 21, 2015

Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education.

Analysis and Commentary

Universal Basic Skills And Sustainable Development Goals

by Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmannvia EducationNext
Monday, June 1, 2015

Ministers and education officials from a wide range of countries and international agencies converged on Incheon in the Republic of Korea last month to discuss a new set of development goals at the World Education Forum. A draft document lays out a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that included education goals to be accomplished by 2015.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Universal Basic Skills Should Be The Primary Development Goal

by Eric Hanushek, Ludger Woessmannvia The World Economic Forum
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Later this year, the UN will set the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will follow on from the previous Millennium Development Goals. The plethora of targets that is likely to emerge will make it hard to use them either as policy levers for change or as a means of charting progress. Instead, because knowledge capital is of utmost importance for inclusive world development, the primary post-2015 development goal should be that all youth achieve at least basic skills. The boost to future prosperity would be immense.