IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Heterogeneous Returns to Personality - The Role of Occupational Choice

  • John, Katrin
  • Thomsen, Stephan L.

We analyze the role of personality in occupational choice and wages using data from Germany for the years 1992 to 2009. Characterizing personality by use of seven complementary measures, the empirical findings show that it is an important determinant of occupational choice. Associated with that, identical personality traits are differently rewarded across occupations. By evaluating different personality profiles, we estimate the influence of personality as a whole. The estimates establish occupation-specific patterns of significant returns to particular personality profiles. These findings underline the importance to consider the occupational distribution when analyzing returns to personality due to its heterogeneous valuation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-495.

in new window

Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-495
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Koenigsworther Platz 1, D-30167 Hannover

Phone: (0511) 762-5350
Fax: (0511) 762-5665
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "Earnings and Occupational Attainment: Immigrants and the Native Born," IZA Discussion Papers 2676, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, September.
  3. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
  4. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  5. Swope, Kurtis J. & Cadigan, John & Schmitt, Pamela M. & Shupp, Robert, 2008. "Personality preferences in laboratory economics experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 998-1009, June.
  6. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  7. François Bourguignon & Martin Fournier & Marc Gurgand, 2004. "Selection Bias Corrections Based on the Multinomial Logit Model: Monte-Carlo Comparisons," DELTA Working Papers 2004-20, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Ham, Roger & Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Wells, Robert, 2009. "Antagonistic Managers, Careless Workers and Extraverted Salespeople: An Examination of Personality in Occupational Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 4193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "Sorting in the Labor Market: Do Gregarious Workers Flock to Interactive Jobs?," Working Papers 63, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  10. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two economists’ musings on the stability of locus of control," Working Paper Series 1619, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  11. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2002. "Just Like Daddy: The occupational choice of UK Graduates," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 47, Royal Economic Society.
  12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 5943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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.
  14. Katz, Lawrence & Gibbons, Robert & Lemieux, Thomas & Parent, Daniel, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Scholarly Articles 2766651, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Kossoudji, Sherrie A, 1988. "English Language Ability and the Labor Market Opportunities of Hispanic and East Asian Immigrant Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 205-28, April.
  18. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  19. Rémi Piatek & Pia Pinger, 2010. "Maintaining (Locus of) Control?: Assessing the Impact of Locus of Control on Education Decisions and Wages," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 338, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  20. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2003. "Occupational Choice Across Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Schmidt, Peter & Strauss, Robert P, 1975. "The Prediction of Occupation Using Multiple Logit Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 471-86, June.
  22. Simon Cheng & J. Scott Long, 2007. "Testing for IIA in the Multinomial Logit Model," Sociological Methods & Research, SAGE Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 583-600, May.
  23. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2008. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  24. 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.
  25. Boskin, Michael J, 1974. "A Conditional Logit Model of Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 389-98, Part I, M.
  26. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  27. 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.
  28. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Dubin, Jeffrey A & McFadden, Daniel L, 1984. "An Econometric Analysis of Residential Electric Appliance Holdings and Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 345-62, March.
  30. Randall K. Filer, 1986. "The Role of Personality and Tastes in Determining Occupational Structure," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 412-424, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-495. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Heidrich, Christian)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.