Labor market restructuring has sparked discussion on lifelong learning. One important question deals with the proper distribution of responsibility for the updating of skills. What is the responsibility of individuals, firms and the society?
To analyze this question, it is useful to see lifelong learning as an investment. It is an investment because it causes immediate costs, but the benefits accrue in the future. The benefits of lifelong learning accrue not only to the individual, but also to her employer and the society at large. The division of responsibility for the investment should depend on the division of the returns to the investment.
The returns to educational investments depend on the type of skills invested in and the functioning of the labor markets. Existing studies do not conclusively show whether there is under- or overinvestment in lifelong learning. More research on the effectiveness of adult education is needed to assess who benefits from lifelong learning and how much. Based on this information it would be possible to assess who should be making the training investments.