Educational and economic returns to cognitive ability in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review.

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From: World Development(Vol. 149)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report
Length: 530 words

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Keywords Cognition; Cognitive ability; Returns; Educational attainment; Earnings Highlights * Cognition and early cognitive development are crucial to educational and economic outcomes, but the association is not widely studied in LMICs. * Increasing cognition scores by one standard deviation is associated with a 4.5% (95% CI 2.6--9.6%) increase in wages across LMIC studies. * Higher cognitive ability increased school enrollment, academic achievement, and educational attainment across LMICs. * The benefits of early cognitive development should be considered within the context of later educational and economic returns. Abstract There is growing interest to use early cognitive ability to predict schooling and employment outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Rather than using educational attainment and school enrollment as predictors of future economic growth or of improving an individual's earning potential, mounting evidence suggests that cognitive ability may be a better predictor. The relationship between cognitive ability, education, and employment are essential to predict future development in LMICs. We performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of the evidence regarding the relationship between cognitive ability and educational outcomes, and between cognitive ability and economic outcomes across LMICs. We searched peer-reviewed studies since 2000 that quantitatively measured these relationships. Based on an initial search of 3,766 records, we identified 14 studies, including 8 studies that examined the cognition-education link and 8 studies that assessed cognition-employment returns in LMICs. Identified studies showed that higher cognitive ability increased the probability of school enrollment, academic achievement, and educational attainment across LMICs. A meta-analysis of returns to wages from cognitive ability suggested that a standard deviation increase in cognitive test scores was associated with a 4.5% (95% CI 2.6%--9.6%) increase in wages. Investments into early cognitive development could play a critical role in improving educational and economic outcomes in LMICs. Further research should focus particularly in low-income countries with the least evidence, and examine the impact on education and economic outcomes by cognitive domains to provide more robust evidence for policy makers to take action. Author Affiliation: (a) Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (b) Department of Maternal and Child Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (c) Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA (d) Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (e) Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA (f) Yale Institute of Global Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA (g) Department of Internal Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA (h) Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA * Corresponding author at: Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#7574, Beard Hall 115G, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. Article History: Accepted 13 August 2021 Byline: Sachiko Ozawa [ozawa@unc.edu] (a,b,*), Sarah K. Laing (c), Colleen R. Higgins (a), Tatenda T. Yemeke (a), Christine C. Park (a), Rebecca Carlson (d), Young Eun Ko (a), L. Beryl Guterman (e), Saad B. Omer (f,g,h)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A679876595