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