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The Importance of Early Conscientiousness for Socio-Economic Outcomes: Evidence from the British Cohort Study

  • Bas ter Weel

    ()

  • Tyas Prevoo

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 crime, 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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Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Discussion Paper with number 251.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:251
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  1. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Glätzle-Rüetzler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2013. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 510-31, February.
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  3. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 2429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  5. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & ter Weel, Bas, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 3333, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2010. "Do Non-Cognitive Skills Help Explain the Occupational Segregation of Young People?," IZA Discussion Papers 5093, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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  9. Borghans,Lex & Weel,Bas,ter & Weinberg,Bruce, 2005. "People People: Social Capital and the Labor-Market Outcomes of Underrepresented Groups," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  10. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
  11. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  12. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  15. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Michelle Tan, 2009. "Noncognitive Skills, Occupational Attainment, and Relative Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 612, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  16. Borghans Lex & Weel Bas ter & Weinberg Bruce A., 2007. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," ROA Research Memorandum 001, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  17. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  19. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two Economists’ Musings on the Stability of Locus of Control," IZA Discussion Papers 5630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Wayne A. Grove & Andrew Hussey & Michael Jetter, 2011. "The Gender Pay Gap Beyond Human Capital: Heterogeneity in Noncognitive Skills and in Labor Market Tastes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 827-874.
  21. Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm P. Harmon, 2009. "Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 659-669, 04-05.
  22. 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.
  23. Randall K. Filer, 1983. "Sexual Differences in Earnings: The Role of Individual Personalities and Tastes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 82-99.
  24. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  25. Gronau, Reuben, 1974. "Wage Comparisons-A Selectivity Bias," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1119-43, Nov.-Dec..
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