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The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills, behavioural and educational outcomes in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of worklessness

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  • Lindsey Macmillan

    () (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

Abstract

Previous work has shown that there is a significant intergenerational correlation of worklessness for the UK which varies across local labour markets (Macmillan, 2011). Using a decomposition from the intergenerational mobility literature (Blanden et. al, 2007), this research is the first to consider the drivers of this transmission. I consider the role of four sets of characteristics of the son in childhood; his non-cognitive skills, cognition, behavioural outcomes and educational attainment, to assess which characteristics are important predictors of later workless spells and whether those characteristics are associated with growing up with a workless father. The wide range of characteristics can only account for 12% of the intergenerational transmission, with the vast majority remaining unaccounted for. While cognition and education dominate the intergenerational transmission of incomes, non-cognitive skills and behavioural outcomes play a more important role in the intergenerational transmission of worklessness. Many of the characteristics considered become increasingly important predictors of future worklessness as the unemployment rate in the local labour market increases. This descriptive analysis suggests that there are benefits to improving the soft skills of the most disadvantaged children, alongside their attainment, to ensure a successful connection with the labour market in adulthood.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindsey Macmillan, 2013. "The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills, behavioural and educational outcomes in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of worklessness," DoQSS Working Papers 13-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 1998. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain: Evidence from Unemployment Patterns," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 431-447, November.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 43-60, March.
    4. Lindsey Macmillan, 2011. "Measuring the intergenerational correlation of worklessness," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/278, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. List, John A. & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    6. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    7. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
    8. Tyra Ekhaugen, 2009. "Extracting the causal component from the intergenerational correlation in unemployment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 97-113, January.
    9. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2009. "Family Income and Education in the Next Generation: Exploring income gradients in education for current cohorts of youth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/223, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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    11. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "The Declining Relative Importance of Ability in Predicting Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    12. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Zudina, 2017. "What Makes Youth Become NEET? The Evidence from Russian LFS," HSE Working papers WP BRP 177/EC/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. Silvia Avram & Olga Canto, 2016. "Labour outcomes and family background: Evidence from the EU during the recession," Working Papers 414, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Silvia Mendolia & Ian Walker, 2015. "Youth unemployment and personality traits," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, December.
    4. Mendolia, Silvia & Walker, Ian, 2014. "Do NEETs Need Grit?," IZA Discussion Papers 8740, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Claire Tyler, 2016. "The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of 'top job' status," DoQSS Working Papers 16-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    6. Silvia Mendolia & Ian Walker, 2015. "Youth unemployment and the effect of personality traits," Working Papers 84097960, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Zwysen, Wouter, 2013. "Where you go depends on where you come from: the influence of father’s employment status on young adult’s labour market experiences," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    : Intergenerational mobility; unemployment; children; skills.;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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