The Black-White Gap in Non-Cognitive Skills among Elementary School Children

69 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018 Last revised: 17 Nov 2019

See all articles by Todd E. Elder

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University

Yuqing Zhou

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management, Students

Date Written: November 2, 2018

Abstract

Using two nationally representative datasets, we find large differences between black and white children in teacher-reported measures of non-cognitive skills. We show that these differences likely understate true black-white skill gaps because of systematic variation across schools in what teacher reports measure. We pursue several approaches to addressing these reference biases, and in nearly all cases, the estimated gaps grow to roughly the same magnitude as analogous gaps in achievement test scores. Our results suggest that non-cognitive skills may play substantial roles in producing black-white disparities in adult outcomes, including earnings, educational attainment, and criminal conviction rates.

JEL Classification: I21, J15

Suggested Citation

Elder, Todd E. and Zhou, Yuqing, The Black-White Gap in Non-Cognitive Skills among Elementary School Children (November 2, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3277607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3277607

Todd E. Elder

Michigan State University ( email )

110 Marshall-Adams Hall
Department of Economics
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0353 (Phone)

Yuqing Zhou (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management, Students ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.yuqingzhou.com/

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