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The Effect Of Education On Cognitive Ability

Author

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  • TORBERG FALCH
  • SOFIA SANDGREN MASSIH

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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Suggested Citation

  • Torberg Falch & Sofia Sandgren Massih, 2011. "The Effect Of Education On Cognitive Ability," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 838-856, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:49:y:2011:i:3:p:838-856
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. 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, September.
    3. Steven G. Rivkin & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain, 2005. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 417-458, March.
    4. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
    5. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2008. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 592-598, August.
    7. Mårten Palme & Sofia Sandgren, 2008. "Parental Income, Lifetime Income, and Mortality," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 890-911, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    10. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    11. 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 3-33, February.
    12. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    13. Blackburn, McKinley L & Neumark, David, 1993. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 521-544, July.
    14. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    15. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Hendrik Schmitz, 2013. "Analyzing Zero Returns to Education in Germany: Heterogeneous Effects and Skill Formation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 598, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. 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.
    4. Anger, Silke & Heineck, Guido, 2010. "Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children? The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1105-1132.
    5. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:35-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bingley, Paul & Martinello, Alessandro, 2013. "Mental retirement and schooling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 292-298.
    7. Nikolaev, Boris & McGee, Jennifer, 2016. "Relative Verbal Intelligence and Happiness," MPRA Paper 78564, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Dahmann, Sarah C., 2017. "How does education improve cognitive skills? Instructional time versus timing of instruction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 35-47.
    9. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Md. Yunus, Melor & Tovar, María Elena Labastida & Burhan, Nik Mohd Ghazi, 2016. "Why are cognitive abilities of children so different across countries? The link between major socioeconomic factors and PISA test scores," MPRA Paper 77239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Bingley, Paul & Martinello, Alessandro, 2017. "The Effects of Schooling on Wealth Accumulation Approaching Retirement," Working Papers 2017:9, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    11. repec:zbw:rwirep:0446 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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