A more direct measure of a country’s human capital is the performance of students on tests in math and science, something that might be called the average level of “cognitive skills” among those entering a country’s work force. At one time, internationally comparable information on student performance was not available for a sufficient number of countries over a long enough period of time to allow for systematic study, which is why economists relied upon the less informative measures of school attainment. Now that test-score data for many countries over an extended period of time are readily available, it is possible to supplement measures of educational attainment with these more direct measures of cognitive skills.


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