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Reaping the Rewards Later: How Education Improves Old-Age Cognition in South Africa

Cognition, a component of human capital, is fundamental for decision-making, and understanding the causes of human capital depreciation in old age is especially important in aging societies. Using various proxy measures of cognitive performance from a longitudinal survey in South Africa, we study how education affects cognition in late adulthood. We show that an extra year of schooling improves memory performance and general cognition. We find evidence of heterogeneous effects by gender: the effects are stronger among women. We explore potential mechanisms, and we show that a more supportive social environment, improved health habits, and reduced stress levels likely play a critical role in mediating the beneficial effects of educational attainment on cognition among the elderly.

Keywords
human capital, educational attainment, cognitive performance, developing countries, sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/samk-6307

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Nikolov, Plamen, and Steve Yeh. (). Reaping the Rewards Later: How Education Improves Old-Age Cognition in South Africa. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-457). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/samk-6307

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