The Role of Noncognitive Ability on Health Status and Wealth Accumulation

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Exhibit Hall C (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Alan Adelman

We study the role of noncognitive ability, focusing on Conscientiousness, in wealth accumulation and its indirect effect through health status channel. Conscientiousness is associated with a 24 percent increase in total net wealth. The indirect effect through health status is 17 percent of the total effect of Conscientiousness. These results persist when we control for socioeconomic status, parental characteristics, and cognitive ability. We use novel instruments for health status, polygenic scores, and obtain similar results to the OLS results: Conscientiousness plays an important role in wealth accumulation and a fundamental factor behind the health effect on wealth accumulation.