NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Understanding the Role of Cognitive Ability in Accounting for the Recent Rise in the Economic Return to Education

John Cawley, James Heckman, Edward Vytlacil

NBER Working Paper No. 6388
Issued in January 1998
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

This paper examines the contribution of the rise in the return to ability to the rise in the economic return to education. All of the evidence on this question comes from panel data sets in which a small collection of adjacent birth cohorts is followed over time. The structure of the data creates an identification problem that makes it impossible to identify main age and time effects and to isolate all possible age-time interactions. In addition, many education-ability cells are empty due to the stratification of ability with educational attainment. These empty cells or identification problems are literature and produce a variety of different estimates. We test and reject widely used linearity assumptions invoked to identify the contribution of the return to ability on the return to schooling. Using nonparametric methods find little evidence that the rise in the return to education is centered among the most able.

download in pdf format
   (1237 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (1237 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6388

Published: Meritocracy and Economic Inequality, Arrow, Kenneth, Samuel Bowles, and Steven Durlauf, eds., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Cawley, Conneely, Heckman, and Vytlacil w5645 Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy
Heckman and Vytlacil w7820 Identifying the Role of Cognitive Ability in Explaining the Level of and Change in the Return to Schooling
Heckman, Stixrud, and Urzua w12006 The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior
Blackburn and Neumark w3693 Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling
Heckman, Lochner, and Todd w9732 Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us