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The College Type: Personality and Educational Inequality

  • Lundberg, Shelly

    ()

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

I examine the effects of cognitive ability and personality traits on college graduation in a recent cohort of young Americans, and how the returns to these traits vary by family background, and find very substantial differences across family background groups in the personality traits that predict successful completion of college, particularly for men. The implications are two-fold. First, the returns to noncognitive traits may be highly context-dependent. Second, policy discussion concerning educational inequality should include, not just the possibilities for remediating the skill levels of poor children, but also approaches to changing the environments that limit their opportunities.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7305.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7305
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  1. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard evidence on soft skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 451-464.
  2. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Shelly Lundberg, 2012. "Personality and marital surplus," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
  4. Kathryn Duckworth & Greg J. Duncan & Katja Kokko & Anna-Liisa Lyyra & Molly Metzger & Sharon Simonton, 2012. "The relative importance of adolescent skills and behaviors for adult earnings: A cross-national study," DoQSS Working Papers 12-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  5. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Schennach, Susanne, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 4702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Working Paper Series 1834, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  7. Becker, A. & Deckers, T. & Dohmen, T.J. & Falk, A. & Kosse, F., 2012. "The relationship between economic preferences and psychological personality measures," ROA Research Memorandum 12, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  8. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
  9. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2011. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2007. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," NBER Working Papers 13670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alita Nandi & Cheti Nicoletti, 2014. "Explaining personality pay gaps in the UK," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(26), pages 3131-3150, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
  15. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  16. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2004. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School and Racial Test Score Gaps," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  17. 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.
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