Ageing and Skills: The Case of Literacy Skills

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Garry F. Barrett

Garry F. Barrett

University of Sydney

W. Craig Riddell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics

Abstract

The relationship between ageing and skills is of growing policy significance due to population ageing, the changing nature of work and the importance of literacy for social and economic well-being. This article examines the relationship between age and literacy skills in a sample of OECD countries using three internationally comparable surveys. By pooling the survey data across time we can separate birth cohort and ageing effects. In doing so we find literacy skills decline with age and that, in most of our sample countries, successive birth cohorts tend to have poorer literacy outcomes.Therefore, once we control for cohort effects the rate at which literacy proficiency falls with age is much more pronounced than that which is apparent based on the cross-sectional relationship between age and literacy skills at a point in time. Further, in studying the literacy-age relationship across the skill distribution in Canada we find a more pronounced decline in literacy skills with age at lower percentiles, which suggests that higher initial literacy moderates the influence of cognitive ageing.

Keywords: human capital, ageing, cognitive skills, literacy, cohort effects

JEL Classification: I20, J14, J24

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Garry F. and Riddell, W. Craig, Ageing and Skills: The Case of Literacy Skills. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12073. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323188

Garry F. Barrett (Contact Author)

University of Sydney ( email )

Rm 370 Merewether (H04)
Sydney, NSW 2006 2008
Australia

W. Craig Riddell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada
604-822-2106 (Phone)

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