Returns to Education Over The Life Course: Well-Being, Social Capital and Participation in Adult Age


The aim of the project was to examine the returns to formal educational careers and general basic cognitive skills in three dimensions that are of great importance in adulthood, both for the individuals themselves and for their social environment, and are additionally highly correlated:

  • subjective well-being
  • social capital
  • social and political participation

Beside the returns to education, the correlation between education and personality in childhood and adult age will be investigated

One finding of the study was that a high level of education favors both volunteerism and high social trust, although this relationship is relatively weak and mainly indirect.

Higher educated people are likely to volunteer or show high social trust mainly because they have good literacy skills, favorable personality traits in this regard, and other valuable resources. This showed that competencies and basic cognitive skills are more important prerequisites for social and political participation than educational qualifications.

Network Partners

Project Management

Funding Organization

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


02/2016 - 04/2019

Research Areas

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