The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities

Reprint No. 2017:54

Author(s): Erik Grönqvist, Björn Öckert and Jonas VlachosYear: 2017 Title: Journal of Human Resources Volume (No.): 52 (4) Pages: 887–918
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Preliminary version

We study the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and noncognitive abilities using population data and correct for measurement error in abilities using two sets of instruments. The results show that previous estimates are biased downward and that once measurement error is corrected for, the correlation in noncognitive ability is close to that of cognitive ability. By considering both parents, intergenerational ability correlations account for a substantial portion of the sibling correlation. Using adoptees, we find that the social impact of maternal abilities is more important than paternal abilities. Children’s educational attainment and labor market outcomes are strongly related to parents’ cognitive and noncognitive abilities.

Grönqvist, Erik, Björn Öckert and Jonas Vlachos (2017), "The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities". Journal of Human Resources 52(4), 887–918.

Jonas Vlachos


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