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Self-Evaluations and Performance: Evidence from Adolescence

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  • Himmler, Oliver
  • Koenig, Tobias

Abstract

A positive view of the self is often portrayed as a valuable asset in the sense that it can have performance enhancing properties. Using data on self-esteem - the most fundamental manifestation of positive self evaluations - and high school grade point averages of American students we produce results in line with this idea and find a positive link between favorable self-evaluations and higher levels of educational performance. However, when we exploit exogenous variation in self-esteem due to adolescent skin problems in order to account for the possible endogeneity of self-esteem, this finding is reversed and we obtain a negative effect on performance. We discuss mechanisms that may generate such an adverse causal effect of positive self-evaluations, and conclude that self-esteem and effort need not always be complements but can actually be substitutes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover with number dp-507.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-507

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Related research

Keywords: Self-evaluations; Self-esteem; Non-cognitive Skills; Human Capital; Performance;

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References

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  1. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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).
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  4. Borghans Lex & Lee Duckworth Angela & Heckman James J. & Weel Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  5. 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.
  6. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
  7. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Weel, Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  8. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  9. Drago, Francesco, 2008. "Self-Esteem and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 3577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
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