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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Grönqvist, Erik & Öckert, Björn & Vlachos, Jonas, 2010. "The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7908
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive ability; Intergenerational ability correlations; non-cognitive ability;

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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