Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital

  title={Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital},
  author={Brian A’hearn and Jorg Baten and Dorothee Crayen},
  journal={The Journal of Economic History},
  pages={783 - 808}
Age data frequently display excess frequencies at attractive numbers, such as multiples of five. We use this “age heaping” to measure cognitive ability in quantitative reasoning, or “numeracy.” We construct a database of age heaping estimates with exceptional geographic and temporal coverage, and demonstrate a robust correlation of literacy and numeracy, where both can be observed. Extending the temporal and geographic range of our knowledge of human capital, we show that Western Europe had… 

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