Tuesday, May 05, 2015

List of resources on noncognitive skills

This is an ongoing list of resources for researchers interested in noncognitive skills.

Although there is disagreement on the definition of noncognitive skills, the term is generally used "to contrast a variety of behaviours, personality characteristics, and attitudes with academic skills, aptitudes, and attainment (p8 Gutman & Schoon, 2013). Noncognitive skills are sometimes called personality skills, soft skills, socioemotional skills and character. These are probably more sensible terms given that "few aspects of human behavior are devoid of cognition" (p3 Borghans et al., 2008). Nonetheless the term 'noncognitive' has survived as a useful way to bucket together individual psychological differences which are not captured by IQ tests (there is also disagreement on whether to use the term "skills" or "traits" but that is another issue).

Over the last fifteen years there has been growing interest in economics in the role noncognitive skills play in shaping socioeconomic outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, earnings, health and wellbeing. Almlund et al. (2011) show how decades of psychology research on individual psychological differences and later outcomes is beginning to be incorporated into formal economic models. Although there are a great many researchers across economics and psychology who have contributed to this literature, it is fair to single out the economist James Heckman (co-winner of the Economics Nobel in 2000) as having been extremely influential in bringing it to the attention of mainstream economists. Heckman has worked on many influential papers in this area and disseminates a lot of material aimed at non-academics on his website The Heckman Equation.

Below is a table from p12 of Heckman & Kautz (2013) which lists many different noncognitive skills using the framework of the Big Five personality traits.

Noncognitive skills in the classroom: New perspectives on educational research by Rosen, Glennie, Dalton, Lennon & Bozick (2010)

Teaching adolescents to become learners. The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review by Farrington, Roderick, Allensworth, Nagaoka, Keyes, Johnson & Beechum (2012). University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

The impact of non-cognitive skills on outcomes for young people: Literature review by Gutman & Schoon (2013). Institute of Education, UCL.

‘Non-cognitive’ skills: What are they and how can they be measured in the British cohort studies? Literature Review by Joshi (2014). Institute of Education, UCL.

The limitations of self-report measures of non-cognitive Skills, by West (2014). Brookings Report.

Improving outcome measures other than achievement by Moore, Lippman & Ryberg (2014).

Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success by Kautz, Heckman, Diris, ter Weel & Borghans (2014). OECD report.

Addressing and mitigating vulnerability across the life cycle: The case for investing in early childhood by Young (2014). UNDP Human Development Report Office Occasional Paper.

Developing social-emotional skills for the labor market: The PRACTICE model by Guerra, Modecki & Cunningham (2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper.
Papers in academic journals

Economic, neurobiological, and behavioral perspectives on building America's future workforce by Knudsen, Heckman, Cameron, & Shonkoff (2006). PNAS.

Schools, skills, and synapses by Heckman (2008). Economic Inquiry.

The economics and psychology of personality traits by Borghans, Duckworth, Heckman & ter Weel (2008). Journal of Human Resources.

Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation by Cunha, Heckman & Schennach (2010). IZA Discussion Paper.

The labor market returns to cognitive and noncognitive ability: Evidence from the Swedish enlistment by Lindqvist & Vestman (2011). American Economic Journal.

Personality psychology and economics by Almlund, Duckworth, Heckman & Kautz (2011). NBER working paper.

Fostering and measuring Skills: Interventions that improve character and cognition by Heckman & Kautz (2013). NBER working paper. 

Early childhood education by Elango, Garcia, Heckman and Hojman (2015), NBER working paper

PPT slides
Hard evidence on soft skills by Heckman & Kautz (2011).

Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation by Heckman, Cunha & Schennach (2011).

Noncognitive skills and socioemotional learning by Heckman (2012).

The role of noncognitive skills in academic success by Payne and Kyllonen (2012).

The economics of inequality and human development by Heckman (2013).

Papers by members of the Stirling Behavioural Science Centre
Childhood self-control & unemployment by Daly, Delaney, Egan & Baumeister (2015). Psychological Science.

Childhood psychological distress and youth unemployment by Egan, Daly & Delaney (2015). Social Science & Medicine.

Personality change following unemployment by Boyce, Wood, Daly & Sedikides (in press). Journal of Applied Psychology.

Money, well-being, and loss aversion: Does a loss in income have a greater effect on well-being than an equivalent income gain? by Boyce, Wood, Banks, Clark & Brown (2013). Psychological Science.

Parental education, grade attainment and earnings expectations among university students by Delaney, Harmon & Redmond (2011). Economics of Education Review.

Psychological and biological foundations of time preference by Delaney, Daly & Harmon (2009). Journal of the European Economic Association.

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