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Occupational Choice: Personality Matters

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Author Info

  • Ham, Roger

    ()
    (University of Western Sydney)

  • Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja)

    ()
    (University of New South Wales)

  • Wells, Robert

    ()
    (University of Western Sydney)

Abstract

In modern societies, people are often classified as "White Collar" or "Blue Collar" workers: that classification not only informs social scientists about the kind of work that they do, but also about their social standing, their social interests, their family ties, and their approach to life in general. This analysis will examine the effect of an individual's psychometrically derived personality traits and status of their parents on the probability of attaining a white collar occupation over the baseline category of a blue collar occupation; controlling for human capital and other factors. The paper uses data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to estimate a random effects probit model to capture the effects on the probability of being in a white collar occupation. The results are then examined using the average marginal effects of the different conditioning variables over the whole sample. The analysis confirms the previous findings of human capital theory, but finds that personality and parental status also have significant effects on occupational outcomes. The results suggest that the magnitude of the average marginal effect of parental status is small and the effect of the personality trait "conscientiousness" is large and rivals that of education. Finally, estimates of separate models for males and females indicate that effects differ between the genders for key variables, with personality traits in females having a relatively larger effect on their occupational outcomes due to the diminished effects of education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4105.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4105

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Keywords: occupational choice; personality; human capital; dynasty hysteresis;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Castro Campos, Bente, 2013. "Human capital differences or labor market discrimination? The occupational outcomes of ethnic minorities in rural Guizhou (China)," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Central and Eastern Europe, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO), volume 73, number 73.
  2. Blázquez, Maite & Budría, Santiago, 2011. "Overeducation Dynamics and Personality," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2011/05, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  3. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," Working Papers 733, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Henseke, Golo, 2011. "Retirement effects of heavy job demands," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 118, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  6. A Aggarwal & R Freguglia & G Johnes & G Spricigo, 2011. "Education and labour market outcomes : evidence from India," Working Papers 615663, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  7. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-cognitive Skills," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 441, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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