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The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior

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  • James J. Heckman

    (University of Chicago, University College Dublin, and American Bar Foundation)

  • Jora Stixrud

    (University of Chicago)

  • Sergio Urzua

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This article establishes that a low-dimensional vector of cognitive and noncognitive skills explains a variety of labor market and behavioral outcomes. Our analysis addresses the problems of measurement error, imperfect proxies, and reverse causality that plague conventional studies. Noncognitive skills strongly influence schooling decisions and also affect wages, given schooling decisions. Schooling, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation are affected by latent noncognitive and cognitive skills. We show that the same low-dimensional vector of abilities that explains schooling choices, wages, employment, work experience, and choice of occupation explains a wide variety of risky behaviors.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 411-482

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:3:p:411-482

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  1. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects and Econometric Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2007. "Dynamic discrete choice and dynamic treatment effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 341-396, February.
  4. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "A New Framework for the Analysis of Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2565, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Klein, Roger & Spady, Richard & Weiss, Andrew, 1991. "Factors Affecting the Output and Quit Propensities of Production Workers," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 929-53, October.
  6. Hansen, Karsten T & Heckman, James J & Mullen, Kathleen J, 2003. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Working Paper Series 2003:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  9. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  12. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J & Masterov, Dimitriy V, 2005. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 1-39, April.
  13. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  14. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  15. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
  16. Gottlieb, Daniel & Moreira, Humberto Ataíde & Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de, 2004. "A model of mixed signals with applications to countersignaling an the GED," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 553, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  17. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-29, October.
  18. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
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  1. Why Does the NFL Philadelphia Eagles Draft College Graduates?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-05-21 14:28:00
  2. Using Measures of Non-Cognitive Ability in Economics
    by Martin Ryan in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-03-18 16:29:00
  3. ???????
    by hisakijapan in hkonoの日記 on 2011-04-14 20:23:01
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