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Quantitative Literacy and the Likelihood of Employment among Young Adults in the United States

Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 313-328
DOI: 10.2307/145737
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/145737
Page Count: 16
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Quantitative Literacy and the Likelihood of Employment among Young Adults in the United States
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Abstract

This paper examines the effects of quantitative literacy on the likelihood of employment among young adults in the United States. The data set used is the 1985 Young Adult Literacy Assessment Survey. This survey of persons 21 to 25 years old makes available scores achieved by individuals sampled on a test measuring proficiency in the application of arithmetic skills to practical problems encountered every day. We use these scores as one of a set of variables in a probit model explaining the probability of a person being fully employed. It is found that quantitative literacy skills are a major factor raising the likelihood of full-time employment. Furthermore, low quantitative literacy appears to be critical in explaining the lower probability of employment of young Black Americans relative to Whites.

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