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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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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. Andreoni, James & Vesterlund, Lise, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," Staff General Research Papers 1951, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  7. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Guido Heineck & Silke Anger, 2008. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 836, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. 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).
  11. Javier Gardeazabal & Aratza Ugidos, . "More on identification in detailed wage decompositions," Studies on the Spanish Economy 140, FEDEA.
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  16. 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.
  17. 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).
  18. Kuhn, Peter J. & Weinberger, Catherine, 2002. "Leadership Skills and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2003. "Motivation, expectations and the gender pay gap for UK graduates," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 42, Royal Economic Society.
  20. 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.
  21. Lee Cronbach, 1951. "Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 297-334, September.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
  25. 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.
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