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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. Premand, Patrick & Brodmann, Stefanie & Almeida, Rita & Grun, Rebekka & Barouni, Mahdi, 2012. "Entrepreneurship training and self-employment among university graduates : evidence from a randomized trial in Tunisia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6285, The World Bank.
  2. Pablo Lavado & Luciana Velarde & Gustavo Yamada, 2013. "Habilidades No Cognitivas y Brecha de Género Salarial en el Perú," Working Papers, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico 13-16, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Dec 2013.
  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. Lundberg, Shelly, 2014. "Skill Disparities and Unequal Family Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 8346, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. John, Katrin & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2012. "Heterogeneous Returns to Personality - The Role of Occupational Choice," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-495, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  6. 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).
  7. Krishnan, Pramila & Krutikova, Sofya, 2013. "Non-cognitive skill formation in poor neighbourhoods of urban India," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 68-85.
  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, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39, 8.
  9. 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, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 12/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  10. 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, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne wp2012n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  11. 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).
  12. Nils Braakmann, 2013. "What Determines Wage Inequality Among Young German University Graduates?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 233(2), pages 130-158, March.
  13. 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).
  14. Shelly Lundberg, 2011. "Psychology and Family Economics," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 66-81, 05.
  15. 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.
  16. Alina Sorgner, 2012. "A Physician With A Soul Of A Cook? Entrepreneurial Personality Across Occupations," Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics 2012-063, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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