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How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills

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  • Adrian Hille
  • Jürgen Schupp

Abstract

Despite numerous studies on skill development, we know little about the causal effects of music training on cognitive and non-cognitive skills. This study examines how long-term music training during childhood and youth affects the development of cognitive skills, school grades, personality, time use and ambition using representative data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Our findings suggest that adolescents with music training have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious. These effects do not differ by socio-economic status. Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater ordance. In order to address the non-random selection into music training, we take into account detailed information on parents, which may determine both the decision to pursue music lessons and educational outcomes: socio-economic background, personality, involvement with the child's school, and taste for the arts. In addition, we control for the predicted probability to give up music before age 17 as well as the adolescent's secondary school type. We provide evidence that our results are robust to both reverse causality and the existence of partly treated individuals in the control group.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Hille & Jürgen Schupp, 2013. "How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 591, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp591
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    Cited by:

    1. Cabane, Charlotte & Hille, Adrian & Lechner, Michael, 2015. "Mozart or Pelé? The effects of teenagers’ participation in music and sports," CEPR Discussion Papers 10556, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Lars Thiel, 2015. "Leave the Drama on the Stage: The Effect of Cultural Participation on Health," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 767, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Meroni, Elena Claudia & Piazzalunga, Daniela & Pronzato, Chiara D., 2018. "Use of Extra-School Time and Child Behaviours: Evidence from the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 11606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Lechner, Michael, 2016. "Empirical Evidence on Educational Effects of Physical Activity: Four Examples," Economics Working Paper Series 1619, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. Berlingieri, Francesco & Zierahn, Ulrich, 2014. "Field of study, qualification mismatch, and wages: Does sorting matter?," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-076, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Anna Makles & Kerstin Schneider, 2017. "Extracurricular educational programs and school readiness: evidence from a quasi-experiment with preschool children," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(4), pages 1181-1204, June.
    7. Knaus, Michael C., 2018. "A Double Machine Learning Approach to Estimate the Effects of Musical Practice on Student's Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 11547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Peter Funk & Thorsten Kemper, 2016. "Leisure and Learning - Activities and Their Effects on Child Skill Development," Working Paper Series in Economics 85, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    9. Adrian Hille, 2015. "How a Universal Music Education Program Affects Time Use, Behavior, and School Attitude," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 810, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Philip Yang, 2015. "The impact of music on educational attainment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(4), pages 369-396, November.
    11. Cabane, Charlotte & Hille, Adrian & Lechner, Michael, 2016. "Mozart or Pelé? The effects of adolescents' participation in music and sports," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 90-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Music; cognitive and non-cognitive skills; educational achievement; SOEP;

    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
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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