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The relative importance of adolescent skills and behaviors for adult earnings: A cross-national study

Author

Listed:
  • Kathryn Duckworth

    () (Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.)

  • Greg J. Duncan

    () (University of California, Irvine, 2056 Education, Mail Code: 5500, Irvine, CA, 92697.)

  • Katja Kokko

    () (Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyvaskyla.)

  • Anna-Liisa Lyyra

    () (Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyvaskyla.)

  • Molly Metzger

    () (Northwestern University, 626 Library Place, Evanston, IL 60208.)

  • Sharon Simonton

    () (University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI.)

Abstract

Seeking convergent findings in five data sets from four countries, we assess the relative importance of adolescent skills and behaviors for completed schooling and labor market success in adulthood. We provide a framework for classifying "noncognitive" skills and use data designed by developmental psychologists to provide reliable measures of a variety of achievement and behavioral skills assessed between ages 13 and 16. Results show that adolescent achievement, particularly math achievement, is a stronger predictor of completed schooling than measures of noncognitive skills. Achievement skills also out-predict noncognitive skills with regard to adult earnings, although the differences are not as striking.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1203
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Green, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Wilkinson, David, 1998. "The Meaning and Determinants of Skills Shortages," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 165-187, May.
    2. 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).
    3. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    4. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-829, October.
    5. Kuhn, Peter J. & Weinberger, Catherine, 2002. "Leadership Skills and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Knapp, Martin & King, Derek & Healey, Andrew & Thomas, Cicely, 2011. "Economic outcomes in adulthood and their associations with antisocial conduct, attention deficit and anxiety problems in childhood," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38200, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shelly Lundberg, 2013. "The College Type: Personality and Educational Inequality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 421-441.
    2. Guerra, Nancy & Modecki, Kathryn & Cunningham, Wendy, 2014. "Developing social-emotional skills for the labor market : the PRACTICE model," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7123, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    adolescent skills; adolescent behaviors; adult earnings;

    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
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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