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Does it Pay to Be Nice? Personality and Earnings in the United Kingdom

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  • Guido Heineck

Abstract

The author examines the relationship between individuals' personality traits and labor market success in the United Kingdom using data from the British Household Panel Study (BHPS). With longitudinal individuals' earnings information as well as psychological profile data of respondents specifically from the 2005 wave, he is able to ascertain the extent to which basic traits from the Five Factor Personality Inventory–openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism–affect wages. Results indicate a positive relationship between openness to experience and wages, but a negative linear relationship between wages and agreeableness, and for females, between wages and neuroticism. Although there is no convincing evidence for an association between extraversion and earnings, there is a nonlinear gradient for conscientiousness. Moreover, there are no joint effects of personality and tenure. The study does support the suggestion that the associations found are causal.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Heineck, 2011. "Does it Pay to Be Nice? Personality and Earnings in the United Kingdom," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(5), pages 1020-1038, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:64:y:2011:i:5:p:1020-1038
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Cubel & Ana Nuevo‐Chiquero & Santiago Sanchez‐Pages & Marian Vidal‐Fernandez, 2016. "Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Laboratory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(592), pages 654-681, May.
    2. Warn N. Lekfuangfu & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Nele Warrinnier & Francesca Cornaglia, 2018. "Locus of Control and its Intergenerational Implications for Early Childhood Skill Formation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(608), pages 298-329, February.
    3. Baert, Stijn, 2015. "Do They Find You on Facebook? Facebook Profile Picture and Hiring Chances," IZA Discussion Papers 9584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Buddelmeyer, Hielke & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2016. "Can having internal locus of control insure against negative shocks? Psychological evidence from panel data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 88-109.
    5. repec:eee:joepsy:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:116-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:labeco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:170-183 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Boyce, Christopher J. & Wood, Alex M., 2011. "Can Money Change Who We Are? Estimating the Effects of Unearned Income on Measures of Incentive-Enhancing Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 6131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Schnitzlein, Daniel D. & Stephani, Jens, 2016. "Locus of Control and low-wage mobility," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 164-177.
    9. Mosca, Irene & McCrory, Cathal, 2016. "Personality and wealth accumulation among older couples: Do dispositional characteristics pay dividends?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-19.
    10. Xu, Yilan & Beller, Andrea H. & Roberts, Brent W. & Brown, Jeffrey R., 2015. "Personality and young adult financial distress," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 90-100.
    11. Christopher Flinn & Petra Todd & Weilong Zhang, 2017. "Personality Traits, Intra-household Allocation and the Gender Wage Gap," Working Papers 2017-029, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    12. Shelly Lundberg, 2017. "Non-Cognitive Skills as Human Capital," NBER Chapters,in: Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future US GDP Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Collischon & Matthias, 2018. "Can Personality Traits Explain Glass Ceilings?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 965, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    14. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0682-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Brenzel, Hanna & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2016. "Does personality matter? : the impact of the big five on the migrant and gender wage gaps," IAB Discussion Paper 201626, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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