IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ageing and Skills: A Review and Analysis of Skill Gain and Skill Loss Over the Lifespan and Over Time


  • Desjardins, Richard
  • Warnke, Arne Jonas


The relationship between ageing and skills is becoming an important policy issue, not least in the context of population ageing. Data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) will potentially add considerably to the understanding of the relationship between ageing and foundation skills. In particular, the fact that data from the 1994-1998 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the 2003-2007 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL) will be linked with PIAAC offers a unique opportunity to examine trends over time at the cohort level for a wide range of countries. Specifically, repeated measures will enable an analysis of whether there is skill gain and skill loss over the lifespan of cohorts and overtime between cohorts. This is especially important because age-skill profiles observed on the basis of a single cross-section are difficult to interpret. With this as a backdrop, this paper has sought to provide an overview of what is known about age-skill profiles and to conduct an analysis that demonstrates how trend data based on repeated cross-sectional observations of direct measures of skill at the cohort level can be used to estimate skill gain and skill loss over the lifespan and over time.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:57089

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andries de Grip & Hans Bosma & Dick Willems & Martin van Boxtel, 2008. "Job-worker mismatch and cognitive decline," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 237-253, April.
    2. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028.
    3. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    4. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772.
    5. Bonsang, Eric & Adam, Stéphane & Perelman, Sergio, 2012. "Does retirement affect cognitive functioning?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 490-501.
    6. Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Peracchi, Franco, 2012. "Ageing, cognitive abilities and retirement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 691-710.
    7. Elizabeth Cascio & Damon Clark & Nora Gordon, 2008. "Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 47-70, Summer.
    8. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    9. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    10. Richards, Marcus & Hardy, Rebecca & Wadsworth, Michael E. J., 2003. "Does active leisure protect cognition? Evidence from a national birth cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 785-792, February.
    11. William Thorn, 2009. "International Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Surveys in the OECD Region," OECD Education Working Papers 26, OECD Publishing.
    12. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:series:v:8:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13209-017-0167-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. Rosario Scandurra, 2015. "An analysis of inequality of skills among adults with PIAAC 2012," 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 0, pages 23-36 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    4. Karsten Albæk, 2015. "A test of the ‘lose it or use it’ hypothesis in labour markets around the world," Working Papers 2015/24, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. van der Velden, Rolf & Bijlsma, Ineke, 2017. "Skill effort: a new theoretical perspective on the relation between skills, skill use, mismatches, and wages," Research Memorandum 013, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    6. Warnke, Arne Jonas & Ederer, Peer & Schuller, Philipp, 2012. "Cognitive skills, tasks and job mobility," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62026, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Lewandowski, Piotr & Keister, Roma & Hardy, Wojciech & Górka, Szymon, 2017. "Routine and Ageing? The Intergenerational Divide in the Deroutinisation of Jobs in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 10732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Matteo Picchio, 2015. "Is training effective for older workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 121-121, January.
    9. Maëlle Della Peruta & Dominique Torre, 2013. "Virtual social currencies for unemployed people: social networks and job market access," Working Papers halshs-00856480, HAL.
    10. Jorge Calero & Inés P. Murillo Huertas & Josep Lluís Raymond Bara, 2016. "Education, age and skills: an analysis using the PIAAC survey," Working Papers 2016/3, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    11. Backman, Mikaela & Karlsson, Charlie, 2013. "Exploration of Wisdom Ages: Firm survival," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 339, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    12. Bowlus, Audra J. & Mori, Hiroaki & Robinson, Chris, 2016. "Ageing and the skill portfolio: Evidence from job based skill measures," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 89-103.
    13. Maciej Lis, 2017. "Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC," IBS Working Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.

    More about this item


    Ageing; Cognitive Skills; PIAAC; IALS; Adult Literacy; Aging; ALL; Skills; Education;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:zbw:esprep:57089. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.