The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination

48 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2000

See all articles by Richard J. Murnane

Richard J. Murnane

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John B. Willett

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education

Frank S. Levy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning

Date Written: March 1995

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Murnane, Richard J. and Willett, John B. and Levy, Frank S., The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination (March 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5076. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225854

Richard J. Murnane (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
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617-496-4820 (Phone)
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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617-496-4820 (Phone)
617-496-3095 (Fax)

John B. Willett

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

6 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3401 (Phone)

Frank S. Levy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Urban Studies & Planning ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Room 9-316
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-2089 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://dusp.mit.edu/faculty/frank-levy

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