Working Paper No. 884

The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities

Published: October 4, 2011Keywords: Intergenerational Ability Correlations; Cognitive Ability; Non-Cognitive Ability; Measurement Error BiasJEL-codes: I00; J13; J24
Published version

The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities Erik Grönqvist, Björn Öckert and Jonas Vlachos


We study the intergenerational transmission of cognitive and non-cognitive abilities between fathers and sons using population-wide enlistment data. Measurement error bias in fathers’ ability measures is corrected for using two sets of instruments. Results suggest that previous estimates of intergenerational ability correlations are biased downwards; once corrected for, the non-cognitive correlation is close to that of cognitive ability. We also predict mothers’ abilities and 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 strongly related to both parents’ cognitive and non-cognitive abilities.

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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