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The Role of Psychological Traits for the Gender Gap in Full-Time Employment and Wages: Evidence from Germany

  • Nils Braakmann

This paper shows that differences in various non-cognitive traits, specifically the "big five", positive and negative reciprocity, locus of control and risk aversion, contribute to gender inequalities in wages and employment. Using the 2004 and 2005 waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel, evidence from regression and decomposition techniques suggests that gender differences in psychological traits are more important for inequalities in wages than in employment. Differences in the "big five", in particular in agreeableness, conscientiousness and neurocitism matter for both wages and employment. For the latter, the results also show a large effect of differencesin external locus of control.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.96094.de/diw_sp0162.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 162.

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Length: 27 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp162
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  1. Guido Heineck & Silke Anger, 2008. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 124, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Ugidos Olazabal, Arantza & Gardeazabal, Javier, 2002. "More on Identification on Detailed Wage Decompositions," DFAEII Working Papers 2002-17, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  3. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2004. "Motivation, Expectations and the Gender Pay Gap for UK Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 1101, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Lee Cronbach, 1951. "Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 297-334, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Ben Jann, 2006. "FAIRLIE: Stata module to generate nonlinear decomposition of binary outcome differentials," Statistical Software Components S456727, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 26 May 2008.
  8. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which Is The Fair Sex? Gender Differences In Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312, February.
  9. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-29, October.
  10. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2007. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Glen R. Waddell, 2006. "Labor-Market Consequences of Poor Attitude and Low Self-Esteem in Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 69-97, January.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Margo Coleman & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  14. Kuhn, Peter & Weinberger, Catherine, 2003. "Leadership Skills and Wages," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt50q3c9n1, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  15. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2006. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 5517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. 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.
  17. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
  18. 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.
  19. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
  20. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
  21. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  22. Nicole M. Fortin, 2008. "The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  23. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  24. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
  25. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
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