New Study: The Creativity Premium

Nina and I were excited to receive an email from Professor David Gill, telling us about his new paper that clearly demonstrates that creativity measured in childhood predicts future success.

Professor Gill wrote to us saying, "I've just finished writing a new paper where we show that creativity measured in childhood predicts educational attainment and success in the labor market, over and above the effect of traditional cognitive ability. Incredibly, we are not aware of any other work that links creativity in childhood to labor market outcomes!"

This is indeed extraordinary given society's huge interest in childhood creativity. Sir Ken Robinson's talk "Do schools kill creativity?" is the most watched TED talk of all time and has been downloaded more that 71 million times.

We would like to thank Professor Gill for sharing his excellent paper with us and would like to share his key findings with you. The quotations that follow are from his academic paper entitled "The Creativity Premium" that can be downloaded here.

The Creativity Premium

Professor David Gill co-authored this paper with Professor Victoria Prowse. They are both economics professors at Purdue University in the US. They have analysed data drawn from 18,500 individuals from birth until the age of 55 to find out whether childhood creativity effects an individual’s long-term career and educational outcomes.

The results are clear; children with creative skills have the following advantages:

1. Better paying jobs

Gill and Prowse write, “Creative individuals tend to perform better in the labour market: more creative individuals are more likely to be in work, and when they work more creative individuals also earn more during the course of their careers.”

2. Better quality jobs

“We find that more creative individuals tend to work in better quality jobs. In particular, more creative individuals are more likely to work in the higher category of managerial and technical occupations, while they are less likely to work in the lower category of skilled non-manual occupations,” conclude the authors.

3. Reach higher educational levels

The research proves that “creative individuals tend to reach higher levels of educational attainment at the high school and college levels.”

4. More self-confidence and independence

The authors assert that “creative people tend to be more autonomous and willing to question tradition and authority.”

5. Society benefits individuals' creativity

As economists, Professors Gill and Prowse are interested in the impact of creativity on the economy.  They see significant advantages here. They say, "consumers and firms will capture some of the benefits that flow from creativity, while creative ideas act as public goods and form the foundation for further innovation over time.”

The conclusion: Creative skills training for children and adults could have substantial positive economic impacts

Given the great advantages that creative skills afford individuals and society, it is not surprising that they conclude their paper with a call for interventions and policies to train creative skills in schools and in the workplace. Professors Gill and Prowse say that the outcomes of their research show the importance of “interventions and policies that aim to train creativity or create environments and incentive structures that spark creative thinking… Our results suggest that interventions which succeed along these dimensions could have substantial positive economic impacts.”

Prof Gill and Prowse conclude that the economy and society as a whole benefits from creativity training.

At Creativity Wake-Up, our passion is to help businesses and individuals to become more resilient and better able to cope in these fast changing times by developing their creative thinking. Our vision is to help people to develop the creative confidence needed to find their voices, advance their businesses, serve their communities and solve the complex problems of our day.

To find out how we can help you or your organisation with creativity training, contact us at [email protected]












Get regular creative inspiration

Sign up to CREATIVE CAFFEINE to receive free tools, resources and inspiration to help grow your creative intelligence. It's your steaming cup of creativity stimulation!

We hate spam and promise to safeguard your information.