Like other economists and non-economists, I’ve been interested for some time in James Heckman’s work on the importance of non-cognitive skills, yet never stopped to ask precisely what he meant by the term. Fortunately, Nicholas Gruen just chased down what Heckman means by ‘non-cognitive’. I had always thought it would be some objective measure of social skills or emotional intelligence. But it turns out that what Heckman calls ‘non-cognitive’ looks a lot like what most of us would call ‘self-esteem’. Over the fold, I’ve extracted the key questions used in the survey (fromÂ theÂ appendix to Heckman’s main paper on the topic).
Table S27. Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale
Question 1 (Rotter 1)
(a) What happens to me is my own doing.
(b) Sometimes I feel that I don’t have enough control over the direction my life is taking.
Question 2 (Rotter 2)
When I make plans,
(a) I am almost certain that I can make them work.
(b) It is not always wise to plan too far ahead, because many things turn out to be a matter of good or bad fortune anyhow.
Question 3 (Rotter 3)
(a) Getting what I want has little or nothing to do with luck.
(b) Many times we might just as well decide what to do by flipping a coin
Question 4 (Rotter 4)
(a) Many times I feel that I have little influence over the things that happen to me.
(b) It is impossible for me to believe that chance or luck plays an important role in my life.
Table S28. Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others.
I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
I am able to do things as well as most other people.
I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
I take a positive attitude toward myself.
On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
I wish I could have more respect for myself.
I certainly feel useless at times.
At times I think I am no good at all.