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The Effects of Personality Traits on Adult Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Siblings

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  • Fletcher, Jason M.

    ()
    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

While large literatures have shown that cognitive ability and schooling increases employment and wages, an emerging literature examines the importance of so-called "non-cognitive skills" in producing labor market outcomes. However, this smaller literature has not typically used causal methods in estimating the results. One source of heterogeneity that may play an important role in producing both personality and other non-cognitive skills and labor market outcomes is family background, including genetic endowments. This paper is the first to use sibling differences to estimate the effects of personality on employment and wages and is also able to control for many other sources of heterogeneity, including attractiveness, cognitive ability, schooling, occupation, and other factors. Overall, the findings suggest that personality measures are important determinants of labor market outcomes in adulthood and that the results vary considerably by demographic group. The findings also highlight the potential role of extraversion in leading to favorable labor market outcomes, which has not been documented in many other studies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6391.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, online first
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6391

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Keywords: sibling fixed effects; wages; personality;

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  1. 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).
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  3. James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev, 2012. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 18581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Uysal, Selver Derya & Pohlmeier, Winfried, 2011. "Unemployment duration and personality," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 980-992.
  5. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  6. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  7. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
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  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. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 5943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. James J. Heckman, 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," NBER Working Papers 17378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
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  18. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the effect of personality on male and female earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  19. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "Conscientious consumers? Preferences, personality and expenditure in the UK," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  2. Cubel, Maria & Nuevo-Chiquero, Ana & Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vidal-Fernández, Marian, 2014. "Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 8308, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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