WP 7: CPS, PIAAC and skills


January 2012 –

September 2015

Lead Partner:

Zeppelin University


Lead Researcher:

Alexander Patt

Researchers involved:

Ljubica Nedelkoska


Understanding the Complex Problem Solving skills.


The main objectives are:

  • To establish an instrument with which a particular type of skill - complex problem solving (CPS) - can be directly and easily assessed among adult populations.
  • To measure CPS scores of 4,150 individuals in 50 enterprises, across 15 European countries plus USA, Canada, Brazil and China, in a selection of industries.
  • To determine factors that are associated with higher level of CPS skill among working individuals.
  • To analyse the relation between CPS skill and economic outcomes.


With establishment of the CPS instrument we will provide public policy makers, business executives and individuals with the possibility to obtain objectively assessed information about a core skill necessary to acquire economically relevant skills, and to be successful in LLL investments.

Methods applied

To address the objectives listed above and provide answers to the key question, this Work Package primarily applies the following methods:


  • Econometric analysis using least squares and instrumental variables regressions.
  • Generalized linear model regression.


These methods will be employed to test the hypotheses relevant for achieving WP 7 objectives using the LLLight'in'Europe project's novel data set on CPS skills and background characteristics of working individuals.

Interim results

Research related to this Work Package is still ongoing, but the interim results show that:

  • Higher CPS skills tend to be measured in people employed in more complex work environments. This finding is robust to controls.
  • CPS skills are correlated with the level of education, intelligence, socio-demographic characteristics, personality traits and learning attitudes.
  • CPS skills contribute to predicting wages even after controlling for differences in education, work experience, socio-demographic characteristics and intelligence.


Thus, preliminary evidence indicates that CPS skill is an important indicator of LLL activities, and has an economically important effect on lifetime earnings.