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The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment

  • Erik Lindqvist
  • Roine Vestman

We use data from the Swedish military enlistment to assess the importance of cognitive and noncognitive ability for labor market outcomes. The measure of noncognitive ability is based on a personal interview conducted by a psychologist. We find strong evidence that men who fare poorly in the labor market—in the sense of unemployment or low annual earnings—lack noncognitive rather than cognitive ability. However, cognitive ability is a stronger predictor of wages for skilled workers and of earnings above the median. (JEL J24, J31, J45)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 101-28

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:101-28
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.101
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
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