Measuring and assessing the impact of basic skills on labour market outcomes

McIntosh, Steven; Vignoles, Anna
July 2001
Oxford Economic Papers;Jul2001, Vol. 53 Issue 3
Academic Journal
Although there has been a considerable amount of research relating measures of schooling years, qualifications, or training spells to workers' labour market success, there has been very little assessment of the role of more basic literacy and numeracy skills, largely due to problems with measurement and data availability. Yet it is obviously crucial, in an era of apparently rising demand for skills, that we have evidence on the labour market value of the full range of worker skills, including basic literacy and numeracy. This paper therefore uses data from the National Child Development Study and the International Adult Literacy Survey to fill this gap. Specifically, we use test scores achieved by respondents in both surveys to measure their basic literacy and numeracy skills. We then evaluate the impact of these skills on workers' labour market outcomes, and find clear evidence of a substantial wage return to such basic skills.


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