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The Effect of Early Noncognitive Skills on Social Outcomes in Adolescence


  • Coneus, Katja
  • Laucht, Manfred


This paper investigates the impact of early noncognitive skills on social outcomes in adolescence. The child's attention span, approach, prevailing mood and distractibility in early childhood may be crucial predictors for school achievements, health risk behavior, delinquency and autonomy as adolescent. We investigate this issue using a longitudinal epidemiological cohort study of 384 children at risk from the Rhine-Neckar Region in Germany. Our results indicate that noncognitive skills in early childhood are important predictors of educational success, tobacco and alcohol use, delinquency and autonomy in adolescence. In particular, the attention span has emerged as a dominant factor among noncognitive skills regarding educational performance, health behavior and delinquency in our study. Further, we find that boys with low noncognitive skills have significantly lower social outcomes compared to girls.

Suggested Citation

  • Coneus, Katja & Laucht, Manfred, 2008. "The Effect of Early Noncognitive Skills on Social Outcomes in Adolescence," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-115, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7505

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    2. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    6. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    7. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
    8. Pedro Carneiro & Claire Crawford & Alissa Goodman, 2007. "The Impact of Early Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills on Later Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0092, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
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    More about this item


    noncognitive skills; early childhood; risk factors; social outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General


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