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The College Type: Personality and Educational Inequality

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  • Shelly Lundberg

Abstract

I examine the effects of cognitive ability and personality traits on college graduation in a recent cohort of young Americans, and how the returns to these traits vary by family background, and find very substantial differences across family background groups in the personality traits that predict successful completion of college, particularly for men. The implications are twofold. First, the returns to noncognitive traits may be highly context dependent. Second, policy discussion concerning educational inequality should include not just the possibilities for remediating the skill levels of poor children, but also approaches to changing the environments that limit their opportunities.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/671056
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/671056
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 421 - 441

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/671056

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  2. Heckman, James J. & LaFontaine, Paul A., 2007. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," IZA Discussion Papers 3216, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Erik Lindqvist & Roine Vestman, 2011. "The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 101-28, January.
  4. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lundberg, Shelly, 2010. "Personality and Marital Surplus," IZA Discussion Papers 4945, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2011. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nandi, Alita & Nicoletti, Cheti, 2009. "Explaining personality pay gaps in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-22, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  8. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Lundberg, Shelly, 2013. "Educational Inequality and the Returns to Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 7595, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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