A Brief Assessment of Adult Skills in Turkey: Results from Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)

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Kavuncu F., Polat S.

Ekonomi-tek, vol.9, no.1, pp.25-57, 2020 (Other Refereed National Journals)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Title of Journal : Ekonomi-tek
  • Page Numbers: pp.25-57


In this study, we compare the adults’ proficiency in key information-processing skills in Turkey with the rest of the OECD countries using the results of OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey. Several key observations can be summarized as follows; While the performance of adults in OECD countries are mostly grouped at intermediate levels, adults in Turkey are concentrated at elementary levels. Both in literacy and numeracy skills, individuals with tertiary education in Turkey perform the same as individuals with secondary education in the OECD countries. We observe that low level of skill use in the labor market might also reflects poor skill returns; thereby individuals prefer not to invest heavily in those skills. Findings of the PIAAC survey reveal that the improvement in quantity should be complemented with progress in quality in Turkey. Moreover, low returns to skills put more emphasis on institutional issues concerning the structure of labor demand. Lack of incentives in firms could be a factor restricting skill development of workers and could lead to low investment in skill upgrading. We complement our comparison by providing some evidence from other data sources and underline the importance of skill development for growth.