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Noncognitive Skills, Occupational Attainment, and Relative Wages

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  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Michelle Tan

Abstract

This paper examines whether men's and women's noncognitive skills influence their occupational attainment and, if so, whether this contributes to the disparity in their relative wages. We find that noncognitive skills have a substantial effect on the probability of employment in many, though not all, occupations in ways that differ by gender. Consequently, men and women with similar noncognitive skills enter occupations at very different rates. Women, however, have lower wages on average not because they work in different occupations than men do, but rather because they earn less than their male colleagues employed in the same occupation. On balance, women's noncognitive skills give them a slight wage advantage. Finally, we find that accounting for the endogeneity of occupational attainment more than halves the proportion of the overall gender wage gap that is unexplained.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 612.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:612

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Keywords: noncognitive skills; personality; occupation; gender wage gap; decomposition;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Schurer, Stefanie & Yong, Jongsay, 2012. "Personality, well-being and the marginal utility of income: What can we learn from random coefficient models?," Working Paper Series 2040, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Michael Fritsch & Alina Rusakova, 2010. "Personality Traits, Self-Employment, and Professions," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 343, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Bas ter Weel & Tyas Prevoo, 2013. "The Importance of Early Conscientiousness for Socio-Economic Outcomes: Evidence from the British Cohort Study," CPB Discussion Paper 251, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  4. Stefanie Schurer & Daniel Kuehnle & Anthony Scott & Terence Chai Cheng, 2012. "One Man's Blessing, Another Woman's Curse? Family Factors and the Gender-Earnings Gap of Doctors," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. Yamada, Gustavo & Lavado, Pablo & Velarde, Luciana, 2013. "Habilidades No Cognitivas y Brecha de Género Salarial en el Perú," Working Papers 2013-014, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  6. Prevoo, Tyas & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "The Importance of Early Conscientiousness for Socio-Economic Outcomes: Evidence from the British Cohort Study," IZA Discussion Papers 7537, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Elke Lüdemann, 2011. "Schooling and the Formation of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39.
  9. Krishnan, Pramila & Krutikova, Sofya, 2013. "Non-cognitive skill formation in poor neighbourhoods of urban India," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 68-85.

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