Current policies and programs aimed at helping unskilled workers acquire socially productive skills are not the right answer to the problem of growing wage gap between the skilled and the unskilled. The conventional belief held by most politicians and pundits is that formal education is critical to skill formation. This approach ignores the important role of families and the private sector in fostering skills. Policymakers are therefore advised to recognize the value of noncognitive skills, the crucial role of informal sources of learning, the importance of incentives in formal education and the cumulative nature of learning in trying to improve the skills of the nation's workers.
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