The Measurement of Cognitive Ability in Wave 12 of the HILDA Survey

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 44/13

Date: 2013


Mark Wooden


This paper provides a statistical overview of three new cognitive ability measures collected in wave 12 of the HILDA Survey: (i) Backwards Digit Span; (ii) the Symbol Digits Modalities Test; and (iii) a 25-item version of the National Adult Reading Test. The paper: analyses willingness to participate (as reflected in item response); examines the evidence on the performance of the measures and the extent to which scores were influenced by external circumstances, interview mode, and interviewers; reports summary descriptive data; and presents cursory evidence on the extent to which the measures are predictive of outcomes, and more specifically the hourly wage among working-age employees.

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  • Cognitive ability, HILDA Survey, survey measurement, panel survey data, wages