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The Role of Noncognitive Traits in Undergraduate Study Behaviours

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  • Liam Delaney

    (Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

  • Colm Harmon

    (Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

  • Martin Ryan

    (Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

Abstract

Undergraduate study behaviours, principally lecture attendance and additional study, are shown to predict better student achievement by many researchers. Despite this, there is not much evidence on the determinants of these behavioural inputs. This is the first paper to explore the determinants of study behaviours across multiple subject areas; and is the first to incorporate students’ noncognitive traits into such a model, that the authors are aware of. As the authors collected the data across seven universities using a web-survey, it is possible to eliminate class-room selection bias and to control for class-room characteristics. This means that account is taken of any micro-level factors that have arisen in prior class-room studies. The results show that students’ noncognitive traits, in particular conscientiousness and future-orientation, are important determinants of lecture attendance and additional study hours. In fact, there is very little that explains undergraduate study behaviour besides noncognitive traits. Standard economic factors, such as family income, financial aid and parental transfers, are not predictive of study behaviours. Some comments are provided on a potential behavioural economics approach to encouraging study behaviours.

Suggested Citation

  • Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Martin Ryan, 2011. "The Role of Noncognitive Traits in Undergraduate Study Behaviours," Working Papers 201132, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201132
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Papers on Personality and Economics
      by Liam Delaney in Economics and Psychology Research on 2012-04-18 15:30:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Oliver Cassagneau-Francis, 2022. "Revisiting the Returns to Higher Education: Heterogeneity by Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities," SciencePo Working papers Main hal-04067399, HAL.
    3. Mendolia, Silvia & Walker, Ian, 2014. "The effect of personality traits on subject choice and performance in high school: Evidence from an English cohort," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 47-65.
    4. Szabó-Morvai Ágnes & Hubert János Kiss, 2020. "Locus of control and Human Capital Investment Decisions: The Role of Effort, Parental Preferences and Financial Constraints," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2055, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    5. Chadi, Adrian & de Pinto, Marco & Schultze, Gabriel, 2019. "Young, gifted and lazy? The role of ability and labor market prospects in student effort decisions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 66-79.
    6. Edwards, Rebecca & Gibson, Rachael & Harmon, Colm & Schurer, Stefanie, 2022. "First-in-their-family students at university: Can non-cognitive skills compensate for social origin?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    7. Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse & Pia Pinger & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Thomas Deckers, 2021. "Socioeconomic Status and Inequalities in Children’s IQ and Economic Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(9), pages 2504-2545.
    8. Wehner, Caroline & Schils, Trudie, 2019. "Educational achievement and gender differences: The role of the interaction between emotional stability and conscientiousness," Research Memorandum 021, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. Mendolia, Silvia & Walker, Ian, 2014. "Do NEETs Need Grit?," IZA Discussion Papers 8740, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Burks, Stephen V. & Lewis, Connor & Kivi, Paul A. & Wiener, Amanda & Anderson, Jon E. & Götte, Lorenz & DeYoung, Colin G. & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Cognitive skills, personality, and economic preferences in collegiate success," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 30-44.
    11. Silvia Mendolia & Ian Walker, 2015. "Youth unemployment and the effect of personality traits," Working Papers 84097960, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    12. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    13. Delavande, Adeline & Del Bono, Emilia & Holford, Angus, 2022. "Academic and non-academic investments at university: The role of expectations, preferences and constraints," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 231(1), pages 74-97.
    14. 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.
    15. Edwards, Rebecca & Gibson, Rachael & Harmon, Colm P. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2020. "First in Their Families at University: Can Non-cognitive Skills Compensate for Social Origin?," IZA Discussion Papers 13721, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Silvia Mendolia & Ian Walker, 2014. "The effect of personality traits on subject choice and performance in high school," Working Papers 64907361, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    17. Peter Cappelli & Shinjae Won, 2016. "How You Pay Affects How You Do: Financial Aid Type and Student Performance in College," NBER Working Papers 22604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Noncognitive Traits; Study Behaviours;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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