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Home Publications Reading and maths skills at age 10 and earnings in later life: a brief analysis using the British Cohort Study

Reading and maths skills at age 10 and earnings in later life: a brief analysis using the British Cohort Study

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Machin and McNally used data from the British Cohort Study to investigate the relationship between reading skills at age 10 and weekly earnings at age 30. This short note builds on their research in three important ways. First, we extend the analysis to look at the association of maths as well as reading skills at age 10 with earnings in later life. Second, we investigate whether the relationship between skills and later earnings varies over time, by considering the relationship between age 10 skills and earnings at ages 34 and 38 as well as age 30. Third, we study whether the results differ depending on whether we use hourly wages rather than weekly earnings, given that the association may differ if people with higher reading and maths skills choose to work different numbers of hours per week.

This report was written for the Centre for the Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT). A repository of CAYT impact studies is hosted by Mentor-Adepis (Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service).

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Briefing note
This report explores the link between reading skills at age 10 and a range of outcomes later in life, including employment status, earnings and self-reported health status. It also investigates whether reading skills have greater benefits for children growing up in poor families.
Press release
Children with strong maths skills at age 10 earn significantly more in their 30s. This is the main finding of new research published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and funded by the Department for Education via the Centre for the Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT).