Cognitive Ability: Social Correlates and Consequences in Contemporary China

In this paper, we describe the measurement of cognitive ability in the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), especially for verbal and mathematical skills, memory, and quantitative reasoning. The available CFPS cognitive measurements can be useful for studies on the importance of cognitive ability in many substantive domains of interest. Using the CFPS data, we show that measures of cognitive ability are clearly related to key demographic and social characteristics, such as age, gender, education, and hukou status. We also illustrate how cognitive ability influences school performance and deviant behaviors among children, income and political capital among adults, and daily functioning among the elderly.