The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment

Reprint No. 2011:3

Author(s): Erik Lindqvist and Roine VestmanYear: 2011 Title: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Volume (No.): 3 (1) Pages: 101–128
Online article (restrictions may apply)

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 3(1), 101–128.

Erik Lindqvist


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