Cognitive life cycle development: a cross-country cohort study

Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Daniela Weber, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Valeria Bordone, Vienna University of Economics and Business

We study life cycle variation in cognitive abilities for nationally representative cohorts for the fifty plus populations in eight countries born from 1944 to 1952 - we observe their cognitive abilities in their teenage years and again when they are past 50 years of age. We use standardized test scores from 1964 IEA data on school performances of pupils of two age groups (around 13 years of age and around 19 years of age, for males and females belonging to the 1949-1952 and 1944-1947 cohorts, respectively). We observe these cohorts again at older ages in the mid-2000s (data from ELSA, HRS, JSTAR, and SHARE surveys that include standardized tests of cognition). We consider math tests both at younger and older ages and also analyze other cognitive tests for the seniors. Sweden along with the US improves their country-ranking-ordering the most across the life cycle, while Belgium and France decline the most.

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Presented in Session 68: Old age health/mortality