Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings
AbstractThis paper uses the Five-Factor Model of personality structure as an organizing framework to explore the effects of personality on earnings. Using data from a longitudinal survey of American high school graduates, we find that extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience are rewarded/penalized significantly and differentially across genders. Antagonistic, emotionally stable and open men enjoy substantial earnings advantages over otherwise similar individuals. In case of women, the labor market appears to value conscientiousness and openness to experience. The positive returns to openness are very similar across genders, suggesting that being creative, unconventional and artistic is equally important for men and women working in all types of occupations. Moreover, we find significant gender differences in personality characteristics. Decomposition of personality-based earnings differentials into trait and parameter effects suggests that gender-atypical traits reduce the earnings advantage that individuals would otherwise enjoy under their own-sex wage structure. Overall, we find that the impact of personality on earnings is significant but not large – not trivial either – and comparable to the impact of differences in cognitive ability.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1254.
Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2006, 60 (1), 3-22
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Other versions of this item:
- Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-087/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 Aug 2005.
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
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