Cognitive consequences of the timing of puberty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Jyväskylä
  • VATT Institute for Economic Research
  • IZA Institute of Labor Economics


In this paper, we use British cohort data to study the degree to which children at different stages of pubertal development at age 11 and 16 differ in their cognitive and behavioral outcomes at age 16 as well as in their completed educational attainment and adult earnings. Controlling for age 7 cognitive skills, region of birth, father's socioeconomic status and parents’ education, we show that boys’ late pubertal development is associated with lower levels of cognitive skills at 16, lower final educational attainment, and lower earnings in adulthood. For girls we find a similar negative relationship between late puberty and cognitive skills, but only imprecise relationships between the timing of puberty and adult outcomes. We fail to find evidence of strong associations with either motivation or problem behavior in adolescence for either gender, suggesting a more direct link between pubertal and cognitive development.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Adolescence, Attainment, Earnings, Gender, Puberty, Skills

ID: 26091426