Interest in the role of noncognitive skills on successful life outcomes (such as academic performance) has increased in recent years. Policy makers in many countries have prioritized the learning of noncognitive skills in the school curriculum and training frameworks. Although studies in labor economics have provided important insights about the impact of noncognitive skills on earnings (e.g., Heckman, Stixrud and Urzua 2006; Lindqvist and Vestman 2011), solid evidence about how labor markets produce or facilitate the acquisition of noncognitive skills in different country settings is lacking. Moreover, existing studies rarely look at the relative influence of noncognitive and cognitive skills on earnings keeping in mind differences in college attainment.
This new comparative study explores how noncognitive skills contribute to the attainment of a college degree and cognitive skills performance and subsequently influence labor market outcomes. It is based on a synthesis of the heterogeneous human capital theory, the Heckman’s economic theory of non-cognitive skills and the screening hypothesis which describe earnings differentials, though sometimes considered as rival theoretical frameworks, are closely related to each other. Using data from the new PIAAC survey of adult skills in 23 countries, and a cross-national and multi-level research design, it shows that noncognitive skills (defined as metacognitive abilities) have a significant impact on tertiary educational attainment and cognitive skills performance. Noncognitive skills also show a significant influence on labor market outcomes among prime-age adults (35-54), although the size and significance of this effect varies by country context. Interestingly, noncognitive skills exert stronger impact on labor market outcomes in Eastern European countries than other countries. The study also discusses the policy implications of the findings as they pertain to skills policy in higher education and training.
Browning, Martin, Lars Peter Hansen, and James J. Heckman. 1999. “Chapter 8 Micro Data and General Equilibrium Models.” In Handbook of Macroeconomics, 1:543–633. Elsevier. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1574004899010113. Hanushek, Eric A., and Richard R. Pace. 1995. “Who Chooses to Teach (and Why)?” Economics of Education Review 14 (2): 101–17. doi:10.1016/0272-7757(95)90392-L. Hanushek, Eric A., Guido Schwerdt, Simon Wiederhold, and Ludger Woessmann. 2015. “Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC.” European Economic Review 73 (January): 103–30. doi:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.10.006. Hanushek, Eric A., and Ludger Woessmann. 2008. “The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development.” Journal of Economic Literature 46 (3): 607–68. Heckman, James J, Lance Lochner, and Christopher Taber. 1998. “Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents.” Review of Economic Dynamics 1 (1): 1–58. doi:10.1006/redy.1997.0008. Kuyper, H., M.P.C. van der Werf, and M.J. Lubbers. 2000. “Motivation, Meta-Cognition and Self-Regulation as Predictors of Long Term Educational Attainment.” Educational Research and Evaluation 6 (3): 181–205. doi:10.1076/1380-3611(200009)6:3;1-A;FT181. Lindqvist, Erik, and Roine Vestman. 2011. “The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3 (1): 101–28. doi:10.1257/app.3.1.101. OECD. 2013. OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10824366. Polachek, Solomon W., Tirthatanmoy Das, and Rewat Thamma-Apiroam. 2013. “Heterogeneity in the Production of Human Capital.” 7335. IZA. Psacharopoulos, George, and Harry Anthony Patrinos. 2004. “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update.” Education Economics 12 (2): 111–34. doi:10.1080/0964529042000239140. Smith, M Cecil, Amy Rose, Jovita Ross-Gordon, and Thomas J Smith. 2014. “Adults’ Readiness to Learn as a Predictor of Literacy Skills.” http://static1.squarespace.com/static/51bb74b8e4b0139570ddf020/t/54da7802e4b08c6b90107b4f/1423603714198/Smith_Rose_Ross-Gordon_Smith_PIAAC.pdf. Teong, S.K. 2003. “The Effect of Metacognitive Training on Mathematical Word-Problem Solving: Mathematical Word-Problem Solving.” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19 (1): 46–55. doi:10.1046/j.0266-4909.2003.00005.x. Trainin, Guy, and H. Lee Swanson. 2005. “Cognition, Metacognition, and Achievement of College Students with Learning Disabilities.” Learning Disability Quarterly 28 (4): 261. doi:10.2307/4126965. Trostel, Philip, Ian Walker, and Paul Woolley. 2002. “Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for 28 Countries.” Labour Economics 9 (1): 1–16. doi:10.1016/S0927-5371(01)00052-5. Veenman, Marcel V.J., Pascal Wilhelm, and Jos J. Beishuizen. 2004. “The Relation between Intellectual and Metacognitive Skills from a Developmental Perspective.” Learning and Instruction 14 (1): 89–109. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2003.10.004.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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