Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability

  • Cawley J
  • Heckman J
  • Vytlacil E
  • 119


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 96


    Citations of this article.


This paper summarizes our recent research on the relationship between wages and measured cognitive ability. In it, we make three main points. First, we find that wage payment by ability does vary across race and gender in the US, and that the fraction of wage variance explained by cognitive ability is modest. Second, measured cognitive ability and schooling are so highly correlated that one cannot separate their effects without imposing strong, arbitrary parametric structure in estimation which, when tested, is rejected by the data. Third, controlling for cognitive ability, personality traits (socialization skills) are correlated with earnings, although they primarily operate through schooling attainment. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognitive ability
  • J24
  • J31
  • Returns to education
  • Wage differentials

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • John Cawley

  • James Heckman

  • Edward Vytlacil

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free