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The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities

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  • Grönqvist, Erik
  • Öckert, Björn
  • Vlachos, Jonas

Abstract

We study the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities between parents and sons, using population-wide enlistment data. Conscripts are evaluated at the same age and with comparable methods across cohorts, and we correct for measurement error bias in fathers’ ability measures by using their brothers’ abilities as instruments. This strategy also enables us to predict mothers’ abilities. Results indicate that previous estimates of intergenerational ability correlations are biased downwards. This bias is particularly strong for non-cognitive abilities and once corrected for, the non-cognitive correlation is close to that of cognitive abilities. Using predicted abilities, we further find the mother-son cognitive ability correlation to be even stronger than the father-son correlation. Finally, educational attainment and labor market outcomes of both sons and daughters are found to be strongly related to both parents’ cognitive and non-cognitive abilities.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7908.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7908

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Keywords: cognitive ability; Intergenerational ability correlations; non-cognitive ability;

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References

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  1. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Black, Sandra & Devereux, Paul J., 2010. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," CEPR Discussion Papers 7786, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Björklund, Anders & Hederos Eriksson, Karin & Jäntti, Markus, 2009. "IQ and Family Background: Are Associations Strong or Weak?," IZA Discussion Papers 4305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Wilhelm, Mark Ottoni & Brown, Eleanor & Rooney, Patrick M. & Steinberg, Richard, 2008. "The intergenerational transmission of generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2146-2156, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-73, December.
  7. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Silke Anger & Guido Heineck, 2010. "Do smart parents raise smart children? The intergenerational transmission of cognitive abilities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 1105-1132, June.
  9. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C43-C60, 03.
  10. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2007. "Older and Wiser? Birth Order and IQ of Young Men," IZA Discussion Papers 3007, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the effect of personality on male and female earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  12. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores," NBER Working Papers 14274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2006. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 2380, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
  18. Sarah Brown & Jolian McHardy & Karl Taylor, 2011. "Intergenerational Analysis of Social Interaction," Working Papers 2011007, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2011.
  19. Holmlund, Helena & Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Targeting Non-Cognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention," IZA Discussion Papers 4476, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J., 2011. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  2. Nathalie Chusseau & Joel Hellier, 2012. "Education, Intergenerational Mobility and Inequality," Working Papers 261, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  3. Anger, Silke & Schnitzlein, Daniel D., 2013. "Like Brother, Like Sister? The Importance of Family Background for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80052, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Exploring the Role of Skills and Health Using Data on Adoptees and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 6099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Lundborg, Petter & Nordin, Martin & Rooth, Dan Olof, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health," Working Papers 2012:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  6. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2011. "Where to Put the Kids? Effects of Type of Non-parental Child Care on Pre-teen Skills and Risky Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 5848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "The effect of noncognitive ability on the earnings of young men: A distributional analysis with measurement error correction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 293-304.
  8. Elke Lüdemann, 2011. "Schooling and the Formation of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39.

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