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The effect of education on cognitive ability

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  • Torberg Falch

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Sofia Sandgren

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

We analyze whether the amount of schooling influences intelligence as measured by IQ tests. By use of a novel longitudinal dataset we are able to condition on early cognitive ability to account for selection into non-compulsory schooling when estimating the effect on cognitive ability at age 20. OLS estimates indicate that one year of schooling increases IQ by 2.8-3.5 points (about 0.2 standard deviations). When family income per family member and teacher evaluations of the individuals at age 10 are used as instruments for schooling and early cognitive ability, the return to schooling is estimated to 3.5-3.8 IQ points.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 7306.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 10 Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:7306

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Keywords: Cognitive ability; Education production; Return to schooling;

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References

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  1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, Kathleen, 2003. "The Effect of Schooling and Ability on Achievement Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, 03.
  3. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2000. "Identifying the Role of Cognitive Ability in Explaining the Level of and Change in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2006. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," CEE Discussion Papers 0054, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 1997. "Employer learning and statistical discrimination," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Palme, Mårten & Sandgren, Sofia, 2007. "Parental Income, Lifetime Income and Mortality," Research Papers in Economics 2007:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  8. Torberg Falch & Sofia Sandgren Massih, 2012. "The Effect of Early Cognitive Ability on Earnings Over the Life-Cycle," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 26(3), pages 287-312, 09.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," Working Papers 653, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. 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).
  11. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  12. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  13. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  14. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Does schooling improve cognitive functioning at older ages?," Economics working papers 2012-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
  3. Bingley, Paul & Martinello, Alessandro, 2013. "Mental retirement and schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 292-298.
  4. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany – Heterogeneous Eff ects and Skill Formation," Ruhr Economic Papers 0446, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  5. Daniele, Vittorio, 2013. "Does the intelligence of populations determine the wealth of nations?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 27-37.
  6. 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.
  7. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, Nazmul Chaudhury, 2013. "Primary Schooling, Student Learning, and School Quality in Rural Bangladesh-Working Paper 349," Working Papers 349, Center for Global Development.

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