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British Economic Growth 1856-1973The Post-War Period in Historical Perspective$

R. C. O. Matthews, C. H. Feinstein, and J. Odling-Smee

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198284536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198284535.001.0001

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(p.572) Appendix E The Educational Level of the Labor Force

(p.572) Appendix E The Educational Level of the Labor Force

Source:
British Economic Growth 1856-1973
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Average Years of Schooling

Estimates of the average number of years' schooling (AYS) of the labor force (Table E.1) have been constructed by estimating the number of years' schooling of each cohort (Table E.2) and multiplying this by the cohort's representation in the labor force. The estimates relate to males in England and Wales, but for certain cohorts data had to be used that relate to the schooling of females as well.

Data on the terminal education age of cohorts born in 1877 and later are available form the censuses of 1951 and 1961. These have been translated into estimates of AYS in an unpublished paper by Mrs. Rose Knight, kindly made available to us by the author. We use Mrs. Knight's estimates, adjusted (see below) for attendance rates, for those cohorts. In Figure 4.1 and Table E.2, interpolations are used to give a breakdown into five‐year bands for cohorts born in the 1877–1916 period. In calculating the AYS of the labor force, data based on the 1951 census are used except for 1961, where the 1961 census data are used.

For pre‐1877 cohorts our estimates are based on the data (of varying degrees of reliability), available from sources indicated in Table E.1, on the numbers in school in given age‐bands at particular dates. These are converted into AYS figures by assuming that the average number of years' schooling received between ages m and n by cohorts born in years tn through tm is equal to the proportion of children aged m through n in school in year t relative to the total number of children aged m through n in year t, multiplied by (nm + 1). (This method involves assuming that the proportion of a given cohort in school at year t is constant between year t − (nm)/2 and t + (nm)/2; it also disregards any differences between the number of children aged m, m + 1, . . . n in year t.)

For the pre‐1881 cohorts, attendance at Sunday school was given one‐fifth weighting for persons attending Sunday school only, and zero weighting if they also attended day school.

All figures are adjusted for any daily attendance rate below 90 percent (taken as full attendance). (p.573)

Table E.1 Average Number of Years of Schooling of Males in England and Wales by Birth Cohort, 1800–1946

Years of schoolinga

Birth year

Years of schoolinga

Birth year

(1951 census)

(1961 census)

1805 or before

2.3b

1877–1886

7.2

1806–1815

2.7b

1887–1896

8.3

8.6

1816–1825

3.6b

1897–1906

9.1

9.1

1826–1835

4.2b

1907–1916

9.4

9.5

1836–1845

4.7

1917–1921

9.6

{9.8

1846–1851

5.0

1922–1926

9.6

1852–1856

5.2

1927–1931

9.7

10.1

1857–1861

5.3

1932–1936

9.9c

10.5

1862–1866

5.4

1937–1941

10.6

1867–1871

6.1b

1942–1946

10.3c

1872–1876

6.6b

Source: Years of schooling, Committee of Council on Education, UK [27]; Scholars in England and Wales, UK [55]; Table on General State of Education, UK [56]; census of England and Wales for 1851, 1861, 1871; Knight 1966. Attendance, Statistical Abstract, UK [7], 1900–1937; Committee of Council on Education, UK [27]; R.C. on the State of Popular Education, UK [85]; R.C. on the Working of the Elementary Education Acts, UK [87].

Note: The 1806–15 and 1826–35 figures are interpolations.

(a) Adjusted for attendance.

(b) Males and females.

(c) Affected by non‐completion of education at census date.

Table E.2 Average Number of Years of Schooling of the Male Labor Force of England and Wales, 1871–1961

Year

Years of schooling

Year

Years of schooling

1871

4.21

1921

7.41

1881

4.69

1931

8.14

1891

5.32

1951

9.21

1901

6.02

1961

9.78

1911

6.75

Source: See Table E.1 and text.

University Graduates

Data on the number of graduates in 1921–61 were taken from the Robbins Committee report (UK [29]). Data for 1908–20 were derived from returns of individual universities. Graduations have been assigned to birth cohorts on the basis of estimates of the normal age of graduation. To minimize the difficulty of allotting to age cohorts the graduations in the early postwar period (affected by war and national service), the cohorts born in the 15‐year period 1917–31 have been taken together. The figures in the second column of Table 4.4 are the proportion of graduates to the total number in a cohort reaching the normal age of graduation (not the proportion of graduates to the number of births in the (p.574) cohort). The figures in the fourth column of Table 4.4 were obtained by multiplying the proportion of the age group in the labor force by the cohort graduation percentages, adjusted to allow for the fact that the percentage of graduates in the working force in cohorts below the graduation age is zero, not the graduation percentage for the cohort. (This last adjustment explains how it is possible for the proportion of graduates in the labor force in 1931 to be below any of the cohort graduation percentages.) The estimates derived by this method for the proportions of graduates in the labor force in 1951 and 1961 may be compared with the Robbins estimates (p. 126) of 1.7 percent for 1951 and 2.3 percent for 1961. The differences arise mainly because the Robbins estimate relate to the proportion of graduates in the labor force of age 20 or over, not the proportion of graduates in the entire labor force. There are also minor differences of definition and coverage.