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One Size Does Not Fit All: Multiple Dimensions of Ability, College Attendance and Wages

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dc.description.abstract This paper studies the role of multiple dimensions of ability on schooling choices and wages. We go beyond the conventional cognitive and non-cognitive taxonomy and show that individuals endowed with high levels of mechanical ability may be less likely to attend college. We estimate a Roy model with a factor structure that deals with the endogeneity of schooling decisions and their consequences on labor market outcomes. Using data from the NLSY79, we find that the probability of attending a four-year college increases by 22.9 and 2.4 percentage points after a one standard deviation increase in cognitive and socio-emotional ability, respectively. But a comparable increase in mechanical ability reduces it by 9.5 percentage points. On the other hand, all three dimensions have positive rewards on the labor market. The economic returns to cognitive and socio-emotional ability are considerably higher: 10.7 and 4.1 percent, respectively compared to 1.4 percent for mechanical ability. However, we find that for individuals with high levels of mechanical but low levels of cognitive and socio-emotional ability, not going to college is associated with higher expected hourly wage. en
dc.title One Size Does Not Fit All: Multiple Dimensions of Ability, College Attendance and Wages en
dc.contributor.author Prada, María
dc.contributor.author Urzúa, Sergio
dc.date.accessioned 2018-02-26T17:10:07Z
dc.date.available 2018-02-26T17:10:07Z
dc.date.issued 2018-02-26
dc.identifier.uri http://lacer.lacea.org/handle/123456789/64804
lacea.language.supported en
dc.description Working paper
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject Mechanical Ability
dc.subject Returns to Skills
dc.subject Unobserved Heterogeneity
dc.type Working Paper


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