Economics at your fingertips  

Rethinking age heaping: a cautionary tale from nineteenth‐century Italy

Brian A'Hearn, Alexia Delfino () and Alessandro Nuvolari ()

Economic History Review, 2022, vol. 75, issue 1, 111-137

Abstract: Age heaping is widely employed as an indicator of human capital, more specifically of numeracy. We re‐examine the age heaping–numeracy link in the light of evidence from nineteenth‐century Italian censuses, in which education explains little of the variation in age heaping. We argue that in general age heaping is most plausibly interpreted as an indicator of cultural, economic, and institutional modernization rather than a straightforward measure of individual cognitive skills. We do not rule out the use of age heaping as a numeracy indicator, but this needs to be done with research designs that are alert to historical specificities of the context under investigation.

Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)

Related works:
Working Paper: Rethinking Age-heaping, a Cautionary Tale From Nineteenth Century Italy (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Rethinking Age-Heaping. A Cautionary Tale from Nineteenth Century Italy (2016) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.blackwell ... bs.asp?ref=0013-0117

Access Statistics for this article

Economic History Review is currently edited by Stephen Broadberry

More articles in Economic History Review from Economic History Society Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Wiley Content Delivery ().

Page updated 2023-03-26
Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:75:y:2022:i:1:p:111-137