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Is the Test Score Decline Responsible for the Productivity Growth Decline?


  • Bishop, John Hillman


The test score decline between 1967 and 1980 was large (about 1.25 grade level equivalents) and historically unprecedented. New estimates of the trends in academic achievement, of the effect of academic achievement on productivity, and of trends in the quality of the work force are developed. The test score decline did not cause the post-1965 productivity growth slowdown, but it did contribute to its perpetuation. If test scores had continued to grow after 1967 at the rate prevailing in the previous quarter century, labor force quality would have been 2.9 percent ($86 billion) greater in 1987, 5.5 percent greater in 2000, and 6.7 percent greater in 2010. Copyright 1989 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Bishop, John Hillman, 1989. "Is the Test Score Decline Responsible for the Productivity Growth Decline?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 178-197, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:79:y:1989:i:1:p:178-97

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