Working Paper Series
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy
The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities
(), Björn Öckert
() and Jonas Vlachos
Abstract: We study the intergenerational transmission of cognitive
and non-cognitive abilities between parents and sons using population-wide
enlistment data. Conscripts are eva-luated at the same age and with
comparable methods across cohorts, and we correct for measurement error
bias in fathers’ ability measures by using their brothers’ abilities as
instruments. The “uncle instrument” is supported by a host of validity
tests. This strat-egy also enables us to predict mothers’ abilities. Our
results suggest that previous esti-mates of intergenerational ability
correlations are biased downwards; in particular for non-cognitive skills.
When this bias is corrected for the non-cognitive correlation is close to
that of cognitive abilities. Using predicted abilities, we further find the
mother-son cognitive ability correlation to be stronger than the father-son
correlation. Finally, educational attainment and labor market outcomes of
both sons and daughters are found to be strongly related to both parents’
cognitive and non-cognitive abilities.
Keywords: Intergenerational ability correlations; cognitive ability; non-cognitive ability; measurement error bias; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: J13; J24; (follow links to similar papers)
44 pages, November 11, 2010
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- This paper is forthcoming as:
Grönqvist, Erik, Björn Öckert and Jonas Vlachos, 'The intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities', The Journal of Human Resources.
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