NBER

Giacomo Mason

Department of Economics
University College London
Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London WC1H 0AX
UK

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University College London

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2018Inequality in Socio-emotional Skills: A Cross-Cohort Comparison
with Orazio Attanasio, Richard Blundell, Gabriella Conti
in Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar 2018, Hilary W. Hoynes, Camille Landais, and Johannes Spinnewijn, organizers
We examine changes in inequality in socio-emotional skills very early in life in two British cohorts born 30 years apart. We construct comparable scales using two validated instruments for the measurement of child behaviour and identify two dimensions of socio-emotional skills: ‘internalising’ and ‘externalising’. Using recent methodological advances in factor analysis, we establish comparability in the inequality of these early skills across cohorts, but not in their average level. We document for the first time that inequality in socio-emotional skills has increased across cohorts, especially for boys and at the bottom of the distribution. We also formally decompose the sources of the increase in inequality and find that compositional changes explain half of the rise in inequality in ext...

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