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Are Young People's Educational Outcomes Linked to their Sense of Control?

  • Barón, Juan D.


    (World Bank)

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.


    (University of Melbourne)

This paper analyzes the link between young people's sense (locus) of control over their lives and their investments in education. We find that young people with a more internal locus of control have a higher probability of finishing secondary school and, conditional on completion, meeting the requirements to obtain a university entrance rank. Moreover, those with an internal locus of control who obtain a university entrance rank achieve somewhat higher rankings than do their peers who have a more external locus of control. Not surprisingly, there is a negative relationship between growing up in disadvantage and educational outcomes. However, this effect does not appear to operate indirectly by increasing the likelihood of having a more external locus of control. In particular, we find no significant relationship between family welfare history and young people's locus of control.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4907.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4907
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  1. Meijers, Huub & Borghans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," MERIT Working Papers 044, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. Lindsey Jeanne Leininger & Ariel Kalil, 2008. "Cognitive and non-cognitive predictors of success in adult education programs: Evidence from experimental data with low-income welfare recipients," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 521-535.
  3. Buly A Cardak & Chris Ryan, 2006. "Why are high ability individuals from poor backgrounds under-represented at university?," Working Papers 2006.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  4. Margo Coleman & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  5. 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.
  6. Peter Gottschalk, 2005. "Can work alter welfare recipients' beliefs?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 485-498.
  7. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2005. "Participation in Higher Education: Equity and Access?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(253), pages 152-165, 06.
  9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  10. Inhoe Ku & Robert Plotnick, 2003. "Do children from welfare families obtain less education?," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 151-170, February.
  11. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
  12. Merve Cebi, 2007. "Locus of Control and Human Capital Investment Revisited," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
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