The Creativity Premium

38 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2021

See all articles by David Gill

David Gill

Purdue University, Department of Economics

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

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Date Written: May 28, 2021


Success in life increasingly depends on key skills that allow people to thrive in education, the labor market, and their interactions with others. In this paper, we emphasize creativity as a key skill that is essential to open-ended problem solving and resistant to automation. We use rich longitudinal data to study the relationship between people's creativity measured in childhood and their individual attributes and life outcomes. We find that childhood creativity predicts labor market and educational success: more creative individuals earn more during the course of their careers, work in higher occupational categories, and reach higher levels of educational attainment. Our analysis of attributes further suggests that creative individuals have a package of practical skills that allows them to thrive in work environments where learning from experience is important. We combine insights from our findings with evidence from psychology to propose creativity-improving interventions that could lead to substantial economic benefits.

Keywords: Creativity, skills, life outcomes, children, longitudinal, labor market, wages, earnings, occupational category, educational attainment, practical skills, experience, cognitive ability, human capital

JEL Classification: D91, J24

Suggested Citation

Gill, David and Prowse, Victoria L., The Creativity Premium (May 28, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

David Gill (Contact Author)

Purdue University, Department of Economics ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117

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