The economics of non-cognitive skills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Non-cognitive skills, defined as individual differences that are independent of cognitive ability, are used within economics and policy to understand and improve labor market outcomes and reduce anti-social behavior. These measures are now being used in sub-Saharan Africa to capture “softer” outcomes of interventions with young people in particular. Having first defined non-cognitive skills and described how they are measured, this chapter then presents critiques relating to their relative insensitivity to culture and class. This argument as to the context specificity of non-cognitive skills is supported with qualitative and quantitative data generated with young entrepreneurs from Uganda and South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Context and Concepts
EditorsCelestin Monga, Justin Yifu Lin
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-968711-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks in Economics


  • Non-cognitive skills
  • personality
  • entrpreneurs
  • youth
  • Africa

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