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Wage premia for skills: the complementarity of cognitive and non-cognitive skills

Marta Palczyńska (Institute for Structural Research, Warsaw, Poland) (SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 26 October 2020

Issue publication date: 22 June 2021




The main purpose of this paper is to assess the degree of complementarity between cognitive skills and non-cognitive skills, and to evaluate their joint impact on individual wages.


The author uses a survey representative of the Polish working-age population with well-established measures of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.


Non-cognitive skills are important in the labour market, not only as separate factors that influence wages, but as complements to cognitive skills. Specifically, the analysis showed that the more neurotic an individual is, the lower his or her returns to cognitive skills are. Social skills were not shown to be complementary to cognitive skills in Poland unlike the recent results in the United States.


To the best of author's knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence that neurotic individuals have lower returns to cognitive skills. It also tests the existence of the complementarity between social and cognitive skills.



The author would like to thank three anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions. The author also wishes to thank Iga Magda, Piotr Lewandowski and participants of the IZA World Labor Conference 2018, the 2018 WIEM conference and the 4th PIAAC International Conference for helpful comments.Funding: This work was supported by the National Science Centre, Poland (grant number 2017/27/B/HS4/01201).


Palczyńska, M. (2021), "Wage premia for skills: the complementarity of cognitive and non-cognitive skills", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 556-580.



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