By following these two steps, we were able to aggregate all available scores for each country into measures of average cognitive skill levels for each country.The 50 countries for which we were able to develop a comparable measure of cognitive skill levels include the 30 democracies that have market economies and have been accepted as members of the OECD, most of which are at a relatively high level of economic development.We also discovered that the size of the impact of cognitive skills depends on whether a nation’s economy is open to outside trade and other external influences.
Reaching these conclusions required a multistep analysis.
The first step was to use the 12 PISA and other international math and science assessments, dating back to 1964, to construct an index of cognitive skill levels for a large sample of countries at various points in time.
According to the latest international math and science assessment conducted by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (see Figure 1), the United States remains a long distance from that target.
Rather than worrying about the consequences, some have begun to question what all the fuss was about.
With this information, we could assess how human capital relates to differences in economic growth for 50 countries from 1960 to 2000, more countries over a longer period of time than any previous study.