A Classification of Factors Affecting Adults’ Skills Distribution

Rosario Scandurra, Marco Alberio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article explores cross-country patterns in how conditions relating to family background, education, and the labor market are related to literacy and numeracy skills. It seeks to assess whether these patterns are in agreement with models of skills formation as identified in the political economy literature. The novelty of this article resides in a reexamination of the findings in the literature of skills formation and education and training system with new data on adults’ skills. This research uses a two-step approach: first it applies Shapley decomposition variance on adult skills and then each country scores are clustered to search for common pattern and regularities in skills formation. This leads us to single out common regularities among groups of countries in the way skills are structured and distributed. We find three main typologies and different subgroups within them that are compatible with the literature on skills formation models.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • adult skills
  • criminology
  • curriculum
  • education
  • literacy
  • skills formation
  • social sciences


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