Education, Skills and Learning

Can economic reasoning play a role in cognitive science?

Economic incentives may help explain the 'Flynn effect'. Image: Unsplash/Natasha Connell

Santiago Hermo

PhD student in Economics, Brown University

Miika Päällysaho

Ph.D. student in Economics, Stockholm University

David Seim

Professor of Economics, Stockholm University

Jesse Shapiro

George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration, Harvard University

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Average logical reasoning skill level Swedish men Flynn effect
An average man born in 1975 scored 4.4 percentile points better than one born in 1962. Image: Adapted from Figure I of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)
The Flynn effect is a very broad phenomenon, occurring across many developed countries.
The Flynn effect is a very broad phenomenon, occurring across many developed countries. Image: Adapted from Online Appendix Figure 9 of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)

Lifetime skill premium among Swedish men born in 1962–1975. Flynn effect
The estimated labor market return declined over the years studied. Image: Adapted from Figure I of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)
Vocabulary knowledge Swedish men Flynn effect
Vocabulary knowledge is often found to have grown more slowly than fluid intelligence or declined. Image: Adapted from Figure I of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)
Relative skill levels labor market returns Flynn effect
The decline in crystallized intelligence suggests that incentives could play a role. Image: Figure II of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)

The model implies that changes in labour market returns explain 37% of the Flynn effect in our setting.
The model implies that changes in labour market returns explain 37% of the Flynn effect in our setting. Image: Adapted from Figure IV of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)

Parents' perceptions importance of reasoning versus knowledge child Flynn effect
Parents of more recent cohorts of children tend to regard reasoning as more important than knowledge. Image: Adapted from Figure VI of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)
Average exposure to reasoning vs knowledge by year of birth between 1962 and 1975. Flynn effect
Terms relating to reasoning or analysis have become more common over time than terms relating to knowledge or memorization. Image: Figure VII of Hermo et al. (forthcoming)
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Related topics:
Education, Skills and LearningSwedenEconomic ProgressNeuroscience
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