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The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany

  • Guido Heineck
  • Silke Anger

We provide the first joint evidence on the relationship between individuals' cognitive abilities, their personality and earnings for Germany. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, we employ scores from an ultra-short IQ-test and a set of measures of personality traits, namely locus of control, reciprocity and all basic items from the Five Factor Personality Inventory. Our estimates suggest a positive effect of so-called fluid intelligence or speed of cognition on males' wages only. Findings for personality traits are more heterogeneous. There however is a robust wage penalty for an external locus of control for both men and women.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.88528.de/diw_sp0124.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 124.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp124
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  16. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male and Female Earnings," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  18. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20055, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  19. Randall K. Filer, 1986. "The role of personality and tastes in determining occupational structure," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 412-424, April.
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  22. Merve Cebi, 2007. "Locus of Control and Human Capital Investment Revisited," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  23. O'Connell, Michael & Sheikh, Hammad, 2007. "Growth in career earnings and the role of achievement-related traits," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 590-605, October.
  24. Frieder Lang & David Weiss & Andreas Stocker & Bernhard von Rosenbladt, 2007. "Assessing Cognitive Capacities in Computer-Assisted Survey Research: Two Ultra-Short Tests of Intellectual Ability in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 183-192.
  25. Bronars, Stephen G. & Oettinger, Gerald S., 2006. "Estimates of the return to schooling and ability: evidence from sibling data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 19-34, February.
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