NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination

Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett, Frank Levy

NBER Working Paper No. 5076
Issued in March 1995
NBER Program(s):   LS

Using data from two longitudinal surveys of American high school seniors, we show that basic cognitive skills had a larger impact on wages for 24-year-old men and women in 1986 than in 1978. For women, the increase in the return to cognitive skills between 1978 and 1986 accounts for all of the increase in the wage premium associated with post-secondary education. We also show that high school seniors' mastery of basic cognitive skills had a much smaller impact on wages two years after graduation than on wages six years after graduation.

download in pdf format
   (371 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (371 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5076

Published: Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. lxxvii, no. 2, may 1995, pp. 251- 266.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Heckman, Stixrud, and Urzua w12006 The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior
Cawley, Conneely, Heckman, and Vytlacil w5645 Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy
Copeland and Taylor w5242 Trade, Spatial Separation, and the Environment
Autor, Levy, and Murnane w8337 The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration
Heckman and Vytlacil w7820 Identifying the Role of Cognitive Ability in Explaining the Level of and Change in the Return to Schooling
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us