Central exams and adult skills: Evidence from PIAAC

Lisa Leschnig, Guido Schwerdt, Katarina Zigova

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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Central exams are often hypothesized to favorably affect incentive structures in schools.
Indeed, previous research provides vast evidence on the positive effects of central exams
on student test scores. But critics warn that these effects may arise through the strategic
behavior of students and teachers, which may not affect human capital accumulation
in the long run. Exploiting variation in examination types across school systems and
over time, we provide the first evidence that central exams positively affect adult skills.
However, our estimates are small compared to the existing estimates for students, which
may indicate some fade-out in the effect on skills over time.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021

Publication series

SeriesROA Research Memoranda

JEL classifications

  • i20 - Education and Research Institutions: General
  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j31 - "Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials"


  • central exams
  • adult skills
  • earnings

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