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The value of basic skills in the British labour market

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  • Anna Vignoles
  • Augustin De Coulon
  • Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez

Abstract

We evaluate the labour market value of literacy and numeracy in the UK, focusing on the impact of basic skills on wages. We draw on literacy and numeracy tests undertaken by all members of the UK 1970 British Cohort Study, and on earlier test score information collected during childhood. The data used are rich and allow us to account for potential ability bias. We find literacy and numeracy skills are positively associated with earnings, over and above any general effect on earnings from a person being more cognitively able and indeed over and above the effect of education on earnings. We also assess whether the wage return to skills has increased over time, using a cross cohort analysis. Literacy and numeracy skills have retained their high value in the UK labour market over the period 1995--2004, despite numerous policy attempts to increase the supply of skills during this period. Copyright 2011 Oxford University Press 2010 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 63 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 27-48

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:63:y:2011:i:1:p:27-48

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & Alan Krueger, 1995. "Jackknife Instrumental Variables Estimation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
  3. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  4. F Green & Steven McIntosh & Anna Vignoles, 1999. "Overeducation and Skills - Clarifying the Concepts," CEP Discussion Papers dp0435, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. McIntosh, Steven & Vignoles, Anna, 2001. "Measuring and Assessing the Impact of Basic Skills on Labour Market Outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 453-81, July.
  7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
  8. Lorraine Dearden, 1998. "Ability, families, education and earnings in Britain," IFS Working Papers W98/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Kevin Denny & Colm Harmon & Vincent O'Sullivan, 2004. "Education, earnings and skills: a multi-country comparison," IFS Working Papers W04/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus & O'Connell, Philip J., 2012. "Literacy and Numeracy Difficulties in the Irish Workplace: Impact on Earnings and Training Expenditures," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS27.
  2. Antoni, Manfred & Heineck, Guido, 2012. "Do literacy and numeracy pay off? On the relationship between basic skills and earnings," BERG Working Paper Series 86, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
  3. Isphording, Ingo E., 2013. "Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin: Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 7360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Derek Bosworth & Genna Kik, 2010. "Adult training policy with respect to basic skills: economic and social issues," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5, in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Greg (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 26, pages 499-524 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
  5. Anna Vignoles & Augustin de Coulon, 2008. "An Analysis of the Benefit of NVQ2 Qualifications Acquired at Age 26-34," CEE Discussion Papers 0106, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  6. Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus & O'Connell, Philip J., 2012. "Literacy, Numeracy and Activation among the Unemployed," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS25.

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