This paper presents an analysis of the interaction of human capital investment and the development of social and political institutions. We find that human capital matters - for growth through its quality dimension; for distributional conflict by raising political aspirations. But human capital does not stand alone either. The level of economic development (output) matters, distributional (instability) conflict as well as the rights dispensation can come to influence human capital investment decisions in their own right. Social, human capital, political as well as economic dimensions are densely interwoven in webs of association.