People with higher intelligence levels are more likely to make sound economic decisions, according to a new study.
The study involved 1,000 trainee truck drivers at Schneider National, Inc, an American motor carrier employing 20,000 people.
The researchers measured the trainees' cognitive skills and asked them to make choices in several economic experiments, and then followed them on the job.
Cognitive skills are any mental skills that are used in the process of acquiring knowledge. People with better cognitive skills, in particular higher IQ, were more willing to take calculated risks and to save their money. They also made more consistent choices.
They were also more likely to be cooperative in a strategic situation, and exhibited higher "social awareness" - they more accurately forecast others' behaviour.
"These results could shed light on the causes of differential economic success among individuals and among nations," said University of Minnesota economist Aldo Rustichini and study co-author.
The researchers also tracked how the trainees persevered in their new job. The company paid for the training of those who stayed a year, but those who left early owed thousands in training costs.
The study found that those with the highest level of cognitive ability stayed at twice the rate of those with the lowest, said a Minnesota release.
The finding that individual characteristics, such as patience, risk taking and effective social behaviour, that improve economic success all cluster together and are linked through cognitive skill, could have implications for policy making and education.
These findings are slated for publication online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.