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The College Type: Personality and Educational Inequality

Listed author(s):
  • Shelly Lundberg

I examine the effects of cognitive ability and personality traits on college graduation in a recent cohort of young Americans, and how the returns to these traits vary by family background, and find very substantial differences across family background groups in the personality traits that predict successful completion of college, particularly for men. The implications are twofold. First, the returns to noncognitive traits may be highly context dependent. Second, policy discussion concerning educational inequality should include not just the possibilities for remediating the skill levels of poor children, but also approaches to changing the environments that limit their opportunities.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/671056
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/671056
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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

Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 421-441

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/671056
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2012. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 11-15.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2013. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 32-64, January.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  4. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2010. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 244-262, May.
  5. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
  6. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, July.
  7. Alita Nandi & Cheti Nicoletti, 2014. "Explaining personality pay gaps in the UK," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(26), pages 3131-3150, September.
  8. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard evidence on soft skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 451-464.
  10. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  11. Shelly Lundberg, 2012. "Personality and marital surplus," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 101-128, January.
  14. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  15. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
  16. Kathryn Duckworth & Greg J. Duncan & Katja Kokko & Anna-Liisa Lyyra & Molly Metzger & Sharon Simonton, 2012. "The relative importance of adolescent skills and behaviors for adult earnings: A cross-national study," DoQSS Working Papers 12-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  17. 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.
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