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Education, cognitive skills and earnings of males and females

  • Büchner Charlotte
  • Smits Wendy
  • Velden Rolf van der

    (ROA rm)

This paper analyzes the relationship between cognitive skills, measured at age 12, andearnings of males and females at the age of 35, conditional on their attained educationallevel. Employing a large data set that combines a longitudinal school cohort survey withincome data from Dutch national tax files, our findings show that cognitive skills andspecifically math skills are rewarded on the labor market, but more for females thanfor males. The main factor driving this result is that cognitive skills appear to be betterpredictors of schooling outcomes for males than for females. Once males have achievedthe higher levels of education, they more often choose programs with high earningperspectives like economics and engineering, even if their level of math skills is relativelylow.

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File URL: http://digitalarchive.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fedora/objects/guid:bd9e981d-7537-4449-9993-7ff86f5a6929/datastreams/ASSET1/content
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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 002.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2012002
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  1. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  2. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
  3. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  4. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James J. Heckman, 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," NBER Working Papers 17378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," IZA Discussion Papers 5605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2010. "Geographic Variation in the Gender Differences in Test Scores," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 95-108, Spring.
  10. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  12. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-44, Spring.
  13. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  14. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  15. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Yves Duhaldeborde & John H. Tyler, 2000. "How important are the cognitive skills of teenagers in predicting subsequent earnings?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 547-568.
  16. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  17. Plug, Erik J. S. & van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Hartog, Joop, 1999. "If we knew ability, how would we tax individuals?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 183-211, May.
  18. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-65, July.
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