Intergenerational Differences in Skills: Human Capital Shift in Contemporary Russia

Intergenerational Differences in Skills:
Human Capital Shift in Contemporary Russia

Popov D.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia.

Strelnikova A.V.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Associate Prof. at HSE University; Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia.

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Popov D.S., Strelnikova A.V. Intergenerational Differences in Skills: Human Capital Shift in Contemporary Russia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2024. No 1. P. 97-108


It is common in social sciences to measure human capital by using the single key indicator: number of years individuals spend on their formal education. This article clashes with this classical approach. With the support of the data from the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competence (PIAAC) it is shown that the deep socio-economic transformation in Russia at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries seriously affected measured in PIAAC skills (competences) of Russian respondents, while the average time spent on getting education in crisis, pre- and post-crisis periods remained approximately the same. As a result, the average level of measured skills among generations in our country and in the OECD countries differs significantly. The intergenerational difference in skills in Russian society cannot be explained by the number of years spent on education. It is proposed to look at the institution and the process of education as a historical one associated with historical events and bearing the imprint of these events.

human capital; intergenerational differences; assessment of adults’ competences; return to education; adult skills; comparison of Russia and OECD countries; PIAAC


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