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Schooling, Literacy, Numeracy and Labor Market Success

Author

Listed:
  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    () (George Washington University)

  • Lee, Yew Liang

    () (University of Western Australia)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 1996 Australian Survey of Aspects of Literacy to examine the effects on labour market outcomes of literacy, numeracy and educational attainment. The survey includes a range of literacy and numeracy variables that are highly inter-correlated. A “general to specific” approach identifies the most relevant literacy and numeracy variables. Including the others adds little explanatory power. Among males and females separately about half of the total effect of education on labour force participation and on unemployment can be attributed to literacy and numeracy (the indirect effect) and about half to the direct effect of education. There is apparently no indirect effect of labour market experience through literacy and numeracy on participation or unemployment. The direct and total effects of experience are the same. The findings suggest that education is a value added process in which skills, including literacy and numeracy, are improved and that these skills enhance labour market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Schooling, Literacy, Numeracy and Labor Market Success," IZA Discussion Papers 450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp450
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hurst, Michael E. & Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "The Employment, Unemployment and Unemployment Compensation Benefits of Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Joseph G. Altonji, 1995. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 409-438.
    3. Weiss, Andrew, 1983. "A Sorting-cum-Learning Model of Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 420-442, June.
    4. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 1998. "The ABS Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 31(3), pages 290-297.
    5. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1.
    6. Kevin Lang & David Kropp, 1986. "Human Capital Versus Sorting: The Effects of Compulsory Attendance Laws," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 609-624.
    7. Paul W. Miller & Leanne M. Neo, 2003. "Labour Market Flexibility and Immigrant Adjustment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(246), pages 336-356, September.
    8. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    9. Le, Anh T & Miller, Paul W, 2000. "Australia's Unemployment Problem," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(232), pages 74-104, March.
    10. Preston, Alison, 1997. "Where Are We Now with Human Capital Theory in Australia?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(220), pages 51-78, March.
    11. McNabb, Robert & Richardson, Sue, 1989. "Earnings, Education and Experience: Is Australia Different?," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(52), pages 57-75, June.
    12. Miller, Paul W & Volker, Paul A, 1984. "The Screening Hypothesis: An Application of the Wiles Test," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 121-127, January.
    13. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Polachek, Solomon W., 2008. "Earnings Over the Life Cycle: The Mincer Earnings Function and Its Applications," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 165-272, April.
    2. Miller, Paul W. & Mulvey, Charles & Martin, Nick, 2004. "A test of the sorting model of education in Australia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 473-482, October.
    3. 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(03), pages 783-808, September.
    4. Neyt, Brecht & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Does Student Work Really Affect Educational Outcomes? A Review of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 11023, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. Pörtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17-66.
    6. Alam, Khorshed & Mamun, Shamsul Arifeen Khan, 2016. "The relationship between labour force status and educational attainment: Evidence from a system of simultaneous equations model," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 55-65.
    7. Patrick Laplagne & Maurice Glover & Anthony Shomos, 2007. "Effects of Health and Education on Labour Force Participation," Staff Working Papers 0704, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; literacy; earnings screening; numeracy; schooling; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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