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The importance of early conscientiousness for socio-economic outcomes: evidence from the British Cohort Study

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  • By Tyas Prevoo
  • Bas ter Weel

Abstract

This research estimates models of the importance of conscientiousness for socio-economic outcomes. We use measures of conscientiousness at age 16 to explain adult wages and other outcomes, such as employment, education, health, and savings behaviour. We use several waves from the 1970 British Cohort Study. Our estimates suggest a significant and sizeable correlation between early conscientiousness and adult outcomes. Measurement error is corrected for by applying IV techniques, errors-in-variables estimators, and structural equation modelling. Investigation of the lower-order structure of conscientiousness suggests that facets related to reliability, decisiveness, and impulse control are most strongly correlated with outcomes. We also investigate changes in early conscientiousness and find that persons who experience declines in the personality distribution between the ages 10 and 16 seem to be worse off in terms of a variety of socio-economic outcomes.

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  • By Tyas Prevoo & Bas ter Weel, 2015. "The importance of early conscientiousness for socio-economic outcomes: evidence from the British Cohort Study," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 918-948.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:67:y:2015:i:4:p:918-948.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpv022
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    7. Gensowski, Miriam, 2018. "Personality, IQ, and lifetime earnings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 170-183.
    8. Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Magnée, Cécile A.J., 2020. "Does sibling gender affect personality traits?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    9. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl, 2015. "Charitable Behaviour and the Big Five Personality Traits: Evidence from UK Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 9318, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Mareckova, Jana & Pohlmeier, Winfried, 2017. "Noncognitive Skills and Labor Market Outcomes: A Machine Learning Approach," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168195, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Peter Frauke H. & Spiess C. Katharina, 2016. "Family Instability and Locus of Control in Adolescence," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 1439-1471, September.
    12. Frauke H. Peter & Pia S. Schober & Katharina C. Spiess, 2016. "Early Birds in Day Care: The Social Gradient in Starting Day Care and Children’s Non-cognitive Skills," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(4), pages 725-751.
    13. Maximilian Bach & Josefine Koebe & Frauke H. Peter, 2019. "Long Run Effects of Universal Childcare on Personality Traits," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1815, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Zakharov, Alexei & Bondarenko, Oxana, 2021. "Social status and social learning," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    15. Jim Engle‐Warnick & Sonia Laszlo & Nagham Sayour, 2020. "Experimental evidence on personality traits and preferences," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(3), pages 288-317, July.
    16. Claire Tyler, 2016. "The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of 'top job' status," DoQSS Working Papers 16-03, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    17. Peter, Frauke, 2016. "The effect of involuntary maternal job loss on children's behaviour and non-cognitive skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-63.
    18. Maczulskij, Terhi & Viinikainen, Jutta, 2018. "Is personality related to permanent earnings? Evidence using a twin design," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 116-129.
    19. Sefane Cetin, 2021. "Joint Retirement: Evidence on the Heterogeneity of Spousal Effects," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021031, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    20. Linda Kamas & Anne Preston, 2020. "Does Empathy Pay? Evidence on Empathy and Salaries of Recent College Graduates," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 169-188, June.
    21. Justine Herve & Helene Purcell & Subha Mani, 2023. "Conscientiousness Matters: How does Personality affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series dp2023-05er:dp2023-05, Fordham University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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