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The impact of COVID-19 on adult skills: Estimation and projection of skills-adjusted human capital, 1970-2050

Caner Özdemir, Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University
Claudia Reiter, University of Vienna
Dilek Yildiz, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital
Anne Goujon, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Wolfgang Lutz, Wittgenstein Centre

In this paper, we extend Skills-in-Literacy Adjusted Mean Years of Schooling (SLAMYS), a recently released (Lutz et al., 2021) human capital indicator, applying projections for the working-age population in 5-year-time-periods from 2015 to 2050. Estimates of SLAMYS between 1970 and 2015 have shown that being in school does not necessarily mean learning and literacy skills are usually lost in later life. Moreover, the gap between years of schooling and SLAMYS varies considerably between countries. Using both international student assessment data and international adult skills data, we project SLAMYS until 2050 for 45 countries. Preliminary projection results indicate a further widening global gap in learning and in adult skills. Incorporating the learning loss during the school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic reveals that the rapid expansion in schooling and increase in skills for the last decades may slow down, and that Covid-related skill loss may eliminate progress gained in the last 20-30 years. These preliminary projections call for urgent action to mitigate learning losses due to school closures during the pandemic.

Keywords: Human capital and labour markets, Population projections, forecasts, and estimations, COVID-19, Inequality

See paper.

  Presented in Session 32. Impact of COVID-19 on Human Capital and the Labour Force