The Gap of Cognitive Skills between those with High and Low Levels of Formal Educational Attainment: Examining Cross-National and Cross-Cohort Variation

Hyunjoon Park, University of Pennsylvania
Pearl Kyei, University of Pennsylvania

Using data of cognitive skills among four cohorts of adults in 19 countries from the International Adult Literacy Survey, we examine cross-national and cross-cohort variation in the gap of cognitive skills between people with college degrees and those who did not graduate from high school. Although people with higher levels of educational attainment tend to have higher levels of cognitive skills than their counterparts of low education, the gaps of cognitive skills by educational attainment may vary across countries and cohorts. We hypothesize that the cross-national and cross-cohort variation is partially accounted by between-country and between-cohort differences in the degree of educational standardization and accessibility of adult education and training. Utilizing the data structure in which individuals are cross-classified by country and cohort, we estimate models of cross-classified random effects to examine how country-level and cohort-level variables affect the relationship between educational attainment and cognitive skills at the individual level.

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Presented in Session 151: Population Perspectives on Cognitive Function and Mental Health