The Role Of Noncognitive Skills In Explaining Cognitive Test Scores
Abstract"This article examines whether noncognitive skills-measured both by personality traits and by economic preference parameters-influence cognitive tests' performance. The basic idea is that noncognitive skills might affect the effort people put into a test to obtain good results. We experimentally varied the rewards for questions in a cognitive test to measure to what extent people are sensitive to financial incentives. To distinguish increased mental effort from extra time investments, we also varied the questions' time constraints. Subjects with favorable personality traits such as high performance motivation and an internal locus of control perform relatively well in the absence of rewards, consistent with a model in which trying as hard as you can is the best strategy. In contrast, favorable economic preference parameters (low discount rate, low risk aversion) are associated with increases in time investments when incentives are introduced, consistent with a rational economic model in which people only invest when there are monetary returns. The main conclusion is that individual behavior at cognitive tests depends on noncognitive skills. "("JEL "J20, J24) Copyright (c) 2008 Western Economic Association International.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.
Volume (Year): 46 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
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Other versions of this item:
- Meijers, Huub & Borghans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 2429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Borghans Lex & Meijers Huub & Weel Bas ter, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," ROA Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
- J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
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