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Self-esteem and earnings

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  • Drago, Francesco

Abstract

Recent research in economics suggests a positive association between self-esteem and earnings. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), which administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale during its 1980 and 1987 interviews, I provide further evidence for the existence of a self-esteem premium by exploiting variation in these measures between the 2 years. I show that self-esteem in 1980 has a sizeable impact on wages 8Â years later, controlling for a wide set of individual characteristics and addressing problems of omitted variable bias and reverse causality. The instrumental variables estimate of the effect of self-esteem in 1987 on earnings is about two times greater than previous OLS estimates would imply. The main explanation for this discrepancy is that the previous OLS estimates are biased downward as a result of measurement error in the reported self-esteem measure.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 480-488

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:480-488

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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Keywords: Self-esteem Non-cognitive skills Earnings;

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References

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  1. Giorgio Brunello & Beatrice d'Hombres, 2006. "Does Body Weight affect Wages? Evidence from Europe," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0027, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  2. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
  3. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
  5. Lu�s Santos-Pinto & Joel Sobel, 2005. "A Model of Positive Self-Image in Subjective Assessments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1386-1402, December.
  6. Lindqvist, Erik & Westman, Roine, 2009. "The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment," Working Paper Series 794, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
  8. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-29, October.
  9. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  10. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2001. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 05 Jan 2004.
  11. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  12. Glen R. Waddell, 2006. "Labor-Market Consequences of Poor Attitude and Low Self-Esteem in Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 69-97, January.
  13. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2012. "The Transferable Scars: A Longitudinal Evidence of Psychological Impact of Past Parental Unemployment on Adolescents in the United Kingdom," CEP Discussion Papers dp1165, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Himmler, Oliver & Koenig, Tobias, 2012. "Self-Evaluations and Performance: Evidence from Adolescence," Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover dp-507, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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