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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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  • Büchner Charlotte & Smits Wendy & Velden Rolf van der, 2012. "Education, cognitive skills and earnings of males and females," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2012002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 431-465, July.
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    13. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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    15. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The returns to cognitive abilities and personality traits in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 535-546, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnepf, Sylke V., 2014. "Do Tertiary Dropout Students Really Not Succeed in European Labour Markets?," IZA Discussion Papers 8015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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