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Noncognitive Skills, Occupational Attainment, and Relative Wages

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  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    ()
    (University of Melbourne)

  • Tan, Michelle

    ()
    (Australian National University)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4289.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (1), 1-13
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4289

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

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Schurer, S.; & Yong, J.;, 2012. "Personality, well-being and the marginal utility of income: What can we learn from random coefficient models?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Krishnan, Pramila & Krutikova, Sofya, 2013. "Non-cognitive skill formation in poor neighbourhoods of urban India," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 68-85.
  5. 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).
  6. Schurer, Stefanie & Kuehnle, Daniel & Scott, Anthony & Cheng, Terence Chai, 2012. "One Man's Blessing, Another Woman's Curse? Family Factors and the Gender-Earnings Gap of Doctors," IZA Discussion Papers 7017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Gustavo Yamada & Pablo Lavado & Luciana Velarde, 2013. "Habilidades No Cognitivas y Brecha de Género Salarial en el Perú," Working Papers 13-20, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Dec 2013.
  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. 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).

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