Ageing and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States
AbstractWe study the relationship between age and literacy skills in Canada, Norway and the U.S. – countries that represent a wide range of literacy outcomes – using data from the 1994 and 2003 International Adult Literacy Surveys. In cross-sectional data there is a weak negative partial relationship between literacy skills and age. However, this relationship could reflect some combination of age and cohort effects. In order to identify age effects, we use the 1994 and 2003 surveys to create synthetic cohorts. Our analysis shows that the modest negative slope of the literacy-age profile in cross-sectional data arises from offsetting ageing and cohort effects. Individuals from a given birth cohort lose literacy skills after they leave school at a rate greater than indicated by cross-sectional estimates. At the same time, more recent birth cohorts have lower levels of literacy. These results suggest a pervasive tendency for literacy skills to decline over time and that these countries are doing a poorer job of educating successive generations. All three countries show similar patterns of skill loss with age, as well as declining literacy across successive cohorts. The countries differ, however, in the part of the skill distribution where falling skills are most evident. In Canada the cross-cohort declines are especially large at the top of the skill distribution. In Norway declining skills across cohorts are more prevalent at the bottom of the distribution. In the U.S. the decline in literacy skills over time is most pronounced in the middle of the distribution.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6424.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Other versions of this item:
- Green, David A. & Riddell, W. Craig, 2013. "Ageing and literacy skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 16-29.
- Green, David A. & Riddell, W. Craig, 2012. "Ageing and Literacy Skills: Evidence from Canada, Norway and the United States," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2012-16, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Apr 2012.
- I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
- J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2012-04-03 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-04-03 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-EDU-2012-04-03 (Education)
- NEP-LAB-2012-04-03 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard Desjardins & Arne Jonas Warnke, 2012.
"Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time,"
OECD Education Working Papers
72, OECD Publishing.
- Desjardins, Richard & Warnke, Arne Jonas, 2012. "Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time," EconStor Preprints 57089, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
- Kevin Milligan & Enrico Moretti & Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the U.S. and the U.K," NBER Working Papers 9584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ana Ferrer & David A. Green & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
- Markus Frolich & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Estimation of quantile treatment effects with Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(3), pages 423-457, September.
- Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
- Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001.
"The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports,"
NBER Working Papers
8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
- Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
- Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "The compelling effects of compulsory schooling: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(1), pages 22-52, February.
- Green, David A. & Craig Riddell, W., 2003. "Literacy and earnings: an investigation of the interaction of cognitive and unobserved skills in earnings generation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 165-184, April.
- Frenette, Marc Green, David A. Milligan, Kevin, 2006. "Revisiting Recent Trends in Canadian After-Tax Income Inequality Using Census Data," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006274e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
- Bloom, David E. & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2013. "Ageing and productivity," FZID Discussion Papers 63-2012, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
- Eric A. Hanushek & Guido Schwerdt & Simon Wiederhold & Ludger Woessmann, 2013.
"Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC,"
NBER Working Papers
19762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eric A. Hanushek & Guido Schwerdt & Simon Wiederhold & Ludger Woessmann, 2014. "Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC," CESifo Working Paper Series 4597, CESifo Group Munich.
- Hanushek, Eric A. & Schwerdt, Guido & Wiederhold, Simon & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC," IZA Discussion Papers 7850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Eric A Hanushek & Guido Schwerdt & Simon Wiederhold & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Returns to Skills Around the World: Evidence from PIAAC," OECD Education Working Papers 101, OECD Publishing.
- Bloom, David E. & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2013. "Ageing and Productivity: Introduction," IZA Discussion Papers 7205, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2013. "Immigrant skills and employment. Cross-country evidence from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey," Discussion Papers 730, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.