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Self-esteem and earnings

  • Drago, Francesco

Recent research in economics suggests a positive association between self-esteem and earnings. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), which administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale during its 1980 and 1987 interviews, I provide further evidence for the existence of a self-esteem premium by exploiting variation in these measures between the 2 years. I show that self-esteem in 1980 has a sizeable impact on wages 8Â years later, controlling for a wide set of individual characteristics and addressing problems of omitted variable bias and reverse causality. The instrumental variables estimate of the effect of self-esteem in 1987 on earnings is about two times greater than previous OLS estimates would imply. The main explanation for this discrepancy is that the previous OLS estimates are biased downward as a result of measurement error in the reported self-esteem measure.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 480-488

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:480-488
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  1. 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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  9. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2001. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 05 Jan 2004.
  10. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
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