IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/7277.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital

Author

Listed:
  • A'Hearn, Brian
  • Baten, Jörg
  • Crayen, Dorothee

Abstract

Age data frequently display excess frequencies at attractive numbers, such as multiples of five. We use this "age heaping" to measure cognitive ability in quantitative reasoning, or "numeracy". We construct a database of age heaping estimates with exceptional geographic and temporal coverage, and demonstrate a robust correlation of literacy and numeracy, where both can be observed. Extending the temporal and geographic range of our knowledge of human capital, we show that Western Europe had already diverged from the East and reached high numeracy levels by 1600, long before the rise of mass schooling or the onset of industrialization.

Suggested Citation

  • A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7277
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7277
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, Third Edition, pages 323-350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1998. "Population, Technology and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
    5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    6. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
    7. Duncan-Jones,Richard, 1990. "Structure and Scale in the Roman Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521354776, August.
    8. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    9. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    10. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
    11. 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 251-266, May.
    12. A'Hearn, Brian & Baten, Jörg & Crayen, Dorothee, 2009. "Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 783-808, September.
    13. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Progress and poverty in early modern Europe," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 56(3), pages 403-443, August.
    14. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2003. "Schooling, Literacy, Numeracy and Labour Market Success," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(245), pages 165-181, June.
    15. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-3, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
    16. Robert Myers, 1976. "An instance of reverse heaping of ages," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 13(4), pages 577-580, November.
    17. Samuel Preston & Irma Elo & Ira Rosenwaike & Mark Hill, 1996. "African-american mortality at older ages: Results of a matching study," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(2), pages 193-209, May.
    18. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2008. "Global Trends in Numeracy 1820-1949 and its Implications for Long-Run Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2218, CESifo.
    19. Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
    20. Long, Jason, 2005. "Rural-Urban Migration and Socioeconomic Mobility in Victorian Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-35, March.
    21. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    22. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006. "Dublin Jewish Demography a Century Ago," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(2), pages 123-147.
    23. Ross Finnie & Ronald Meng, 2001. "Cognitive skills and the youth labour market," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(10), pages 675-679.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jörg Baten & Dorothee Crayen, 2008. "Global Trends in Numeracy 1820-1949 and its Implications for Long-Run Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2218, CESifo.
    2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-668, September.
    3. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741, Elsevier.
    4. Garett Jones & W. Schneider, 2006. "Intelligence, Human Capital, and Economic Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 71-93, March.
    5. Barbara Sianesi, 2002. "The returns to education: a review of the empirical macro-economic literature," IFS Working Papers W02/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Rogers, Mark Llewellyn, 2008. "Directly unproductive schooling: How country characteristics affect the impact of schooling on growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 356-385, February.
    7. Tan, Clifford, 2013. "The contribution of university rankings to country's GDP per capita," MPRA Paper 53900, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
    9. Hanushek, Eric A. & Luque, Javier A., 2003. "Efficiency and equity in schools around the world," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 481-502, October.
    10. Joerg Baten & Jan Zanden, 2008. "Book production and the onset of modern economic growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 217-235, September.
    11. Crayen, Dorothee & Baten, Joerg, 2010. "Global trends in numeracy 1820-1949 and its implications for long-term growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 82-99, January.
    12. Benos, Nikos & Zotou, Stefania, 2014. "Education and Economic Growth: A Meta-Regression Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 669-689.
    13. Tan Kuan Lu, Clifford, 2014. "University Rankings Game and its relation to GDP per capita and GDP growth," MPRA Paper 53933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Tan Kuan Lu, Clifford, 2013. "Do university rankings matter for growth?," MPRA Paper 52705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Michael S. Delgado & Daniel J. Henderson & Christopher F. Parmeter, 2014. "Does Education Matter for Economic Growth?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(3), pages 334-359, June.
    16. Altinok, Nadir & Aydemir, Abdurrahman, 2017. "Does one size fit all? The impact of cognitive skills on economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 176-190.
    17. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Kotschy, Rainer & Prettner, Klaus & Schünemann, Johannes, 2018. "Health and Economic Growth: Reconciling the Micro and Macro Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 11940, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle," CESifo Working Paper Series 2667, CESifo.
    19. John Beirne & Nauro F. Campos, 2007. "Educational inputs and outcomes before the transition from communism," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(1), pages 57-76, January.
    20. Jakob B. Madsen & Fabrice Murtin, 2017. "British economic growth since 1270: the role of education," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 229-272, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Age Heaping; Europe; Human Capital; Literacy; Long-term Growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7277. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.