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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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  8. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
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  17. Holmlund, Helena & Silva, Olmo, 2009. "Targeting Non-Cognitive Skills to Improve Cognitive Outcomes: Evidence from a Remedial Education Intervention," IZA Discussion Papers 4476, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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