The Black-White Gap in Non-Cognitive Skills among Elementary School Children
69 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018 Last revised: 17 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 2, 2018
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: Suggested Citation