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The Importance of Cognitive Abilities at Primary School for Educational and Occupational Success in the Life Course of a Dutch Generation, born around 1940


  • Dronkers, J.


This paper gives empirical evidence of the role of cognitive ability in social stratification by analyzing a Dutch longitudinal data set (the so-called Noord-Brabant cohort), as a contribution to the debates around The Bell Curve. Differences in early cognitive ability influence educational success. The differences in that early cognitive ability between respondents with different educational levels increase during their life course. Selection and allocation in the educational system is partly based on these differences in cognitive ability, independent of the parental background of pupils. This early cognitive ability doesn’t directly affect the selection and allocation at the labor-market, independent of the attained educational level. The same holds for income and early cognitive ability. Generally speaking differences in early cognitive abilities are more important in processes of educational attainment for men than women. Differences in cognitive ability play therefore an important role in the making and unmaking of social inequality, based on class.

Suggested Citation

  • Dronkers, J., 1998. "The Importance of Cognitive Abilities at Primary School for Educational and Occupational Success in the Life Course of a Dutch Generation, born around 1940," MPRA Paper 22021, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22021

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    More about this item


    intelligence; income; education; occupational status;

    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
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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