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The Rising Return to Non-cognitive Skills

Author

Listed:
  • Edin, Per-Anders

    (Department of Economics)

  • Fredriksson, Peter

    (Department of Economics)

  • Nybom, Martin

    (Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)

  • Öckert, Björn

    (IFAU, Uppsala University)

Abstract

We examine the changes in the rewards to cognitive and non-cognitive skill during the time period 1992-2013. Using unique administrative data for Sweden, we document a secular increase in the returns to non-cognitive skill. This increase is particularly pronounced in the private sector, at the upper-end of the wage distribution, and relative to the evolution of the return to cognitive skill. Sorting across occupations responded to changes in the returns to skills. Workers with an abundance of non-cognitive skill were increasingly sorted into abstract and nonroutine occupations, for example. Such occupations also saw greater increases in the relative return to non-cognitive skill. This suggests that the optimal skill mixes of jobs have changed over time, that there is sorting on comparative advantage,and that demand-side factors are primarily driving the evolution of the return to non-cognitive skill. Consistent with this, we also show that hikes in o shoring and IT-investments increase the relative reward to non-cognitive skill and the relative intensity of non-cognitive skill usage.

Suggested Citation

  • Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Nybom, Martin & Öckert, Björn, 2018. "The Rising Return to Non-cognitive Skills," Working Paper Series 2018:15, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2018_015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Hull, Marie & Norris, Jonathan, 2020. "The skill development of children of immigrants," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
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    5. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2017. "Optimal Paternalistic Health and Human Capital Policies," Working Papers 1709, University of Windsor, Department of Economics.
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    7. Maksimova, Mariia, 2019. "The return to non-cognitive skills on the Russian labor market," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 53, pages 55-72.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage inequality; sorting; skill returns; cognitive/non-cognitive skill.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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