Published on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Document number 21/11

Global | Cross-country data on skills and the quality of schooling

This working paper reviews the available cross-country data on skill levels and educational quality and analyzes their distribution across OECD countries and their strengths and limitations in comparison to years of schooling.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • It also describes the available primary data from standardized international assessments of student and adult competences, and discusses the different attempts to organize, standardize and summarize these data.
  • The working paper also focuses on discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the existing indicators and their potential usefulness as explanatory variables in empirical analyses of the determinants of income and welfare levels and growth rates.
  • The distribution of these indicators is investigated across a sample of 21 OECD countries for which the quality of the data and the number of observations available are greater than for developing countries.
  • Accepting that quality matters in education does not mean that quantity should be ignored. The skill level of the labor force will surely depend on both the quantity and the quality of schooling. We provide some preliminary evidence in favor of this view and argued that progress in this area is most likely to come from studies that try to combine both dimensions.

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