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The value of basic skills in the British labour market

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

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the labour market value of basic skills in the UK, focusing on the wage and employment returns to having better literacy and numeracy skills. We draw on literacy and numeracy assessments undertaken by all cohort members of the UK 1970 British Cohort Study. The data used are very rich and allow us to account for potential ability bias, including as they do early childhood assessments of ability. We find that the literacy and numeracy effects on earnings are over and above any general effect on earnings from a person being more cognitively able. We also assess whether the value of basic skills, in terms of wage returns, has increased over time, using a cross cohort analysis based on the 1958 National Child Development Study cohort and the 1970 British Cohort Study. Our results show that literacy and numeracy skills retained their high value in the labour market over the period 1995-2004, despite numerous policy attempts to increase the supply of basic skills during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • De Coulon, Augustin & Marcenaro-Gutierrez, Oscar & Vignoles, Anna, 2007. "The value of basic skills in the British labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19398, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19398
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19398/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 453-481, July.
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    3. F Green & Steven McIntosh & Anna Vignoles, 1999. "Overeducation and Skills - Clarifying the Concepts," CEP Discussion Papers dp0435, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    5. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-274, July.
    6. Colm Harmon & Kevin Denny & Vincent O'Sullivan, 2003. "Education, earnings and skills : a multi-country comparison," Open Access publications 10197/649, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Angrist, J D & Imbens, G W & Krueger, A B, 1999. "Jackknife Instrumental Variables Estimation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 57-67, Jan.-Feb..
    8. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, June.
    9. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    10. Lorraine Dearden, 1998. "Ability, families, education and earnings in Britain," IFS Working Papers W98/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. 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 1131-1174, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cain Polidano & Chris Ryan, 2016. "What Happens to Students with Low Reading Proficiency at 15? Evidence from Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n33, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Isphording, Ingo E., 2014. "Disadvantages of linguistic origin—Evidence from immigrant literacy scores," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 236-239.
    3. José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Manuel Muñiz Pérez & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez, 2015. "The influence of socioeconomic factors on cognitive and non-cognitive educational outcomes," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 10,in: Marta Rahona López & Jennifer Graves (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 10, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 21, pages 413-438 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    4. Augustin de Coulon & Elena Meschi & Anna Vignoles, 2011. "Parents' skills and children's cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 451-474, July.
    5. Luis Alejandro Lopez-Agudo & Oscar David Marcenaro Gutierrez & Helena Ferreira-Marques, 2016. "Gender, institutions and educational achievement: a cross country comparison," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 11,in: José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 11, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 20, pages 383-400 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    6. Anna Vignoles, 2016. "What is the economic value of literacy and numeracy?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 229-229, January.
    7. Ferran Mane & Daniel Miravet, 2016. "Using the job requirements approach and matched employer-employee data to investigate the content of individuals’ human capital
      [Messung von individuellem Humankapital auf Basis des „Jobanforderung
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(2), pages 133-155, October.
    8. Andrea Cegolon, 2015. "Determinants and Learning Effects of Adult Education-Training: a Cross-National Comparison Using PIAAC Data," DoQSS Working Papers 15-11, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    9. Fasih, Tazeen & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Sakellariou, Chris, 2013. "Functional literacy, heterogeneity and the returns to schooling : multi-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6697, The World Bank.
    10. Himmler, Oliver & Jaeckle, Robert, 2014. "Literacy and the Migrant-Native Wage Gap," MPRA Paper 58812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. O. D. Marcenaro-Gutierrez & M. Luque & L. A. Lopez-Agudo, 2016. "Balancing Teachers’ Math Satisfaction and Other Indicators of the Education System’s Performance," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1319-1348, December.
    12. GÓMEZ , Nuria & TOBARRA, María-Ángeles & LÓPEZ, Luis-Antonio, 2014. "Employment Opportunities In Spain: Gender Differences By Education And Ict Usage," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(3), pages 105-130.
    13. 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.
    14. Nicola Brandt, 2015. "Vocational training and adult learning for better skills in France," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1260, OECD Publishing.
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0397 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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 & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 26, pages 499-524 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Ingo Isphording, 2013. "Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin – Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores," Ruhr Economic Papers 0397, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skills; Labour Market; Literacy; Numeracy;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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