The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination
Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett, Frank Levy
NBER Working Paper No. 5076
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.
Published: Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. lxxvii, no. 2, may 1995, pp. 251- 266.