nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2021‒04‒05
two papers chosen by

  1. Limited Cognitive Abilities and Dominance Hierarchy By Hanyuan Huang; Jiabin Wu
  2. First-in-their-family students at university: Can non-cognitive skills compensate for social origin? By Rebecca Edwards; Rachael Gibson; Colm Harmon; Stefanie Schurer

  1. By: Hanyuan Huang; Jiabin Wu
    Abstract: We propose a novel model to explain the mechanism behind dominance hierarchy structures. Guided by a predetermined social convention, individuals with limited cognitive abilities optimize their strategies in a Hawk-Dove game. We find that several commonly observed hierarchical structures in the nature such as linear hierarchy and despotism, emerge as the total fitness maximizing social structures given different levels of cognitive abilities.
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Rebecca Edwards (University of Sydney); Rachael Gibson (University of Sydney); Colm Harmon (University of Edinburgh & IZA Bonn); Stefanie Schurer (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: We study the role of non-cognitive skills (NCS) in university readiness and performance of first-in-family students (FIFS) using both nationally representative survey data and linked survey-administrative data on an incoming student cohort at a leading Australian university. In both data sources we find that FIFS enter university with lower cognitive skills (-0.3 SD), but with the same NCS as non-FIFS. FIFS have 0.24 SD lower grade-point averages (GPA) and are up to 50 percent more likely to drop-out after Year 1 than non-FIFS. Yet, FIFS catch up with non-FIFS by the end of Year 2. Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openness (when adjusting for measurement error with anchoring vignettes), and Locus of Control (when allowing for non-linearities) are predictive of GPA. High levels of Conscientiousness offset FIFS performance penalties; low levels exacerbate them, especially when controlling for measurement error. Our findings accentuate the importance of NCS as facilitator of educational mobility.
    Keywords: Non-cognitive skills, university performance, socioeconomic gradient in education, first-in-family, linked survey and administrative data, anchoring vignettes.
    JEL: A22 J24
    Date: 2021–03

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