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The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities

  • Grönqvist, Erik

    ()

    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Öckert, Björn

    ()

    (FAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Vlachos, Jonas

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)

We study the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities between parents and sons using population-wide enlistment data. Conscripts are eva-luated 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. The “uncle instrument” is supported by a host of validity tests. This strat-egy also enables us to predict mothers’ abilities. Our results suggest that previous esti-mates of intergenerational ability correlations are biased downwards; in particular for non-cognitive skills. When this bias is 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 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.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010:12.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 11 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Grönqvist, Erik, Björn Öckert and Jonas Vlachos, 'The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities' in The Journal of Human Resources, 2016.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2010_012
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  1. 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 101-28, January.
  2. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
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  5. Björklund, Anders & Hederos Eriksson, Karin & Jäntti, Markus, 2009. "IQ and Family Background: Are Associations Strong or Weak?," IZA Discussion Papers 4305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Mother's Schooling on Children's Schooling Using a Sample of Adoptees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 358-368, March.
  8. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2009. "Like father, like son? A note on the intergenerational transmission of IQ scores," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 138-140, October.
  11. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Helena Holmlund & Olmo Silva, 2014. "Targeting Noncognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 126 - 160.
  14. Wilhelm, Mark Ottoni & Brown, Eleanor & Rooney, Patrick M. & Steinberg, Richard, 2008. "The intergenerational transmission of generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2146-2156, October.
  15. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  16. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Sarah Brown & Jolian McHardy & Karl Taylor, 2011. "Intergenerational Analysis of Social Interaction," Working Papers 2011007, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2011.
  18. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
  19. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the apple doesn't fall far : understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," Open Access publications 10197/309, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  20. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20051, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  21. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey MacMillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0307, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  22. 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.
  23. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-73, December.
  24. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male and Female Earnings," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
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