The Growing Importance of Socioemotional Skills for Academic Achievement in the United States

Ozcan Tunalilar, University of Florida
Robert G. White, University of Florida

Evidence that socioemotional skills related to attentiveness and anti-social behavior are closely tied to academic achievement underscores the importance of the broad range of skills required for school success in modern America. Using two birth cohorts born during early 1980s and 1990s, we find that the importance of these skills is a relatively recent phenomenon. We select two cohorts of adolescents from the NLSY97 and the children of the NLSY79 to assess changes in the effects of attentiveness and anti-social behaviors in models of school achievement. We adopt a propensity score weighting procedure to account for changes in the distributions of family background between cohorts and construct cohorts suitable for comparison. The estimated increase in the effect of socioemotional skills for achievement illustrates how these skills present an emerging additional axis for educational inequalities.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality