Reading skills at age 10 associated with improved adult earnings

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has issued a briefing note that investigates the link between reading skills in children at age 10 and their adult outcomes. It is based on analysis of data from the British Cohort Study (a lifetime survey of people born in April 1970). The analysis aimed to account for differences in family background and skills other than reading (such as mathematics and other cognitive and non-cognitive skills).

Good reading skills in children were associated with higher earnings in adults. There was less evidence for an association between childhood reading and other outcomes, including the likelihood of being in work, health status, and passing on reading skills to future generations. The authors reported “suggestive evidence” that the association with higher earnings was stronger for children from poorer backgrounds.

The authors did not consider that their evidence definitely showed a causal relationship between reading skills and outcomes, but that the results should “be regarded as providing suggestive evidence of strong associations.”

Source: The link between childhood reading skills and adult outcomes: analysis of a cohort of British children (2015), The Institute for Fiscal Studies

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