We use data from the Swedish military enlistment to assess the importance of cognitive and noncognitive ability for labor market outcomes. The measure of noncognitive ability is based on a personal interview conducted by a psychologist. We find strong evidence that men who fare poorly in the labor market—in the sense of unemployment or low annual earnings—lack noncognitive rather than cognitive ability. However, cognitive ability is a stronger predictor of wages for skilled workers and of earnings above the median.
Lindqvist, Erik and Roine Vestman (2011),
"The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment".
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics