The nonmarket benefits of education and ability

James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Gregory Veramendi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes the nonmarket benefits of education and ability. Using a dynamic model of educational choice, we estimate returns to education that account for selection bias and sorting on gains. We investigate a range of nonmarket outcomes, including incarceration, mental health, voter participation, trust, and participation in welfare. We find distinct patterns of returns that depend on the levels of schooling and ability. Unlike the monetary benefits of education, the benefits to education for many nonmarket outcomes are greater for low-ability persons. College graduation decreases welfare use, lowers depression, and raises self-esteem more for less-able individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-304
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Human Capital
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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