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Skill Policies for Scotland

Author

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  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Masterov, Dimitriy V.

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper argues that skill formation is a life-cycle process and develops the implications of this insight for Scottish social policy. Families are major producers of skills, and a successful policy needs to promote effective families and to supplement failing ones. We present evidence that early disadvantages produce severe later disadvantages that are hard to remedy. We also show that cognitive ability is not the only determinant of education, labor market outcomes and pathological behavior like crime. Abilities differ in their malleability over the life-cycle, with noncognitive skills being more malleable at later ages. This has important implications for the design of policy. The gaps in skills and abilities open up early, and schooling merely widens them. Additional university tuition subsidies or improvements in school quality are not warranted by Scottish evidence. Company-sponsored job training yields a higher return for the most able and so this form of investment will exacerbate the gaps it is intended to close. For the same reason, public job training is not likely to help adult workers whose skills are rendered obsolete by skill-biased technological change. Targeted early interventions, however, have proven to be very effective in compensating for the effect of neglect.

Suggested Citation

  • Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2004. "Skill Policies for Scotland," IZA Discussion Papers 1444, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1444
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O’ Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2013. "The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, December.
    2. Rossana Patrón, 2006. "Enhancing the Public Provision of Education: The Economics of Education Reform in Developing Countries," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1106, Department of Economics - dECON.
    3. Waldfogel, Jane, 2004. "Social mobility, life chances, and the early years," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6302, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Andrea Doneschi & Rossana Patrón, 2011. "Trabajo y crisis: Lecciones para los programas públicos de capacitación. Notas sobre el caso uruguayo," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6,in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 48, pages 774-798 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    family; training; education; Scotland; policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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