Education, Labour Market Experience and Cognitive Skills: Evidence from PIAAC
42 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2016
We study how formal education and experience in the labour market correlate with measures of human capital available in thirteen countries participating in the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competences (PIAAC), an international study assessing adults’ proficiency in numeracy and literacy. Two findings are consistent with the notion that, in producing human capital, work experience is a substitute for formal education for respondents with compulsory schooling. Firstly, the number of years of working experience correlates with performance in PIAAC mostly among low-educated individuals. Secondly, individual fixed-effect models suggest that workers in jobs intensive in numerical tasks – relative to reading tasks – perform relatively better in the numeracy section of the PIAAC test than in the reading part. The results are driven by young individuals with low levels of schooling and hold mainly for simple tasks, suggesting that our findings are not fully generated by the sorting of workers across jobs. A back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that the contribution of on-the-job learning to skill formation is a quarter of that of compulsory schooling in the countries we analyse.
Keywords: human capital, tasks, education, working experience, cognitive skills
JEL Classification: J24, J31, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation