We’re always celebrating the benefits of reading here at FRA, and now according to a study published in the Economic Journal, you have even more reason to instil a love of reading into your children! Economists from the University of Padua in Italy studied 6,000 men from nine European Countries in the mid-twentieth century, and categorised those men according to how many books were at home while they were grown up, and according to the study the more books at home, the more your earning potential as an adult!
Subjects were sorted according to whether they had fewer then 10 books at home, a shelf of books, a bookcase with up to 100 books, two bookcases, or more than two, and the study estimated the effect of education on lifetime earnings. The study also distinguished between individuals who lived in rural or urban areas during their childhood.
The study showed that in rural areas it’s school reforms that have the most effect on individuals, but that those with many books at home enjoyed substantially higher returns to their additional education.
Overall, an extra year of education was found to increase a man’s lifetime earnings by around 9%. However when broken down further, those with little access to books at home only saw a 5% rise, while those with big libraries to choose from saw a 21% rise. Reading was also tied to a great propensity for change, those that read more were prepared to move to cities with better opportunities, while those with few books at home were less likely to move away.
Researchers did state that a home filled with books indicates advantageous socio-economic conditions, but whatever the reason those with books at home did better.