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Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes

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  • McIntosh, Steven
  • Vignoles, Anna

Abstract

Although there has been a considerable amount of research relating measures of schooling years, qualifications, or training spells to workers' labour market success, there has been very little assessment of the role of more basic literacy and numeracy skills, largely due to problems with measurement and data availability. Yet it is obviously crucial, in an era of apparently rising demand for skills, that we have evidence on the labour market value of the full range of worker skills, including basic literacy and numeracy. This paper therefore uses data from the National Child Development Study and the International Adult Literacy Survey to fill this gap. Specifically, we use test scores achieved by respondents in both surveys to measure their basic literacy and numeracy skills. We then evaluate the impact of these skills on workers' labour market outcomes, and find clear evidence of a substantial wage return to such basic skills. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 53 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 453-81

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:53:y:2001:i:3:p:453-81

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  1. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 1999. "Do the Cognitive Skills of School Dropouts Matter in the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 7101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lorraine Dearden & Steven McIntosh & Michal Myck & Anna Vignoles, 2000. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," CEE Discussion Papers 0004, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek & Dongwook Kim, 1995. "Schooling, Labor Force Quality, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Weale, Martin, 1992. "Education, externalities, fertility, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1039, The World Bank.
  5. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-89, October.
  6. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  7. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
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