National Variation in Cognitive Life Cycle Development (Revised 7 November 2013)

Skirbekk, V., Weber, D. ORCID:, & Bordone, V. (2011). National Variation in Cognitive Life Cycle Development (Revised 7 November 2013). IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-11-028

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Maintaining cognitive functioning through mid- to late-life is relevant for both the individual and societal aim of active ageing and reducing dependence in old age. This paper analyses life-cycle variation in country-level rank ordered cognitive performance over a 40-year period. For the cohort born between 1949 and 1952, we observe standardized mathematical test scores at teen age from the First International Mathematics Study (FIMS) and cognitive test performance at mid-life, based on the SHARE survey. This allows us to compare the relative country ranking in 1964 and the performance in 2004 of the same birth cohort. Our results show that those countries which had the highest scores in math tests taken by 13 years old grade level students are not the same countries that, 40 years later, have the top performing scores in cognitive tests among mid-age adults. This highlights the importance of considering country-level influences on cognitive change over the life cycle, in addition to individual characteristics. Further studies are required to explore the link between specific contextual factors and cognitive functioning before we will be able to formulate relevant policy implications from these results.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:22

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