Learning-Adjusted Years of Schooling (LAYS): Defining a New Macro Measure of Education

61 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018 Last revised: 17 Oct 2018

See all articles by Deon Filmer

Deon Filmer

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

F. Halsey Rogers

World Bank

Noam Angrist

World Bank; University of Oxford; Young 1ove Organisation

Shwetlena Sabarwal

World Bank

Date Written: September 27, 2018

Abstract

The standard summary metric of education-based human capital used in macro analyses - the average number of years of schooling in a population - is based only on quantity. But ignoring schooling quality turns out to be a major omission. As recent research shows, students in different countries who have completed the same number of years of school often have vastly different learning outcomes. This paper therefore proposes a new summary measure, Learning-Adjusted Years of Schooling (LAYS), that combines quantity and quality of schooling into a single easy-to-understand metric of progress. The cross-country comparisons produced by this measure are robust to different ways of adjusting for learning (for example, by using different international assessments or different summary learning indicators), and the assumptions and implications of LAYS are consistent with other evidence, including other approaches to quality adjustment. The paper argues that (1) LAYS improves on the standard metric, because it is a better predictor of important outcomes, and it improves incentives for policymakers; and (2) its virtues of simplicity and transparency make it a good candidate summary measure of education.

Keywords: Educational Sciences, Economic Theory & Research, Industrial Economics, Economic Growth, Health Care Services Industry, Education for Development (superceded), Educational Populations, Education For All

Suggested Citation

Filmer, Deon and Filmer, Deon and Rogers, F. Halsey and Angrist, Noam and Angrist, Noam and Sabarwal, Shwetlena, Learning-Adjusted Years of Schooling (LAYS): Defining a New Macro Measure of Education (September 27, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8591, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3256550

Deon Filmer (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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F. Halsey Rogers

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/hrogers

Noam Angrist

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Young 1ove Organisation ( email )

Gaborone
Botswana

Shwetlena Sabarwal

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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