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Self-Evaluations and Performance: Evidence from Adolescence

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  • Himmler, Oliver
  • Koenig, Tobias

Abstract

A positive view of the self is often portrayed as a valuable asset in the sense that it can have performance enhancing properties. Using data on self-esteem - the most fundamental manifestation of positive self evaluations - and high school grade point averages of American students we produce results in line with this idea and find a positive link between favorable self-evaluations and higher levels of educational performance. However, when we exploit exogenous variation in self-esteem due to adolescent skin problems in order to account for the possible endogeneity of self-esteem, this finding is reversed and we obtain a negative effect on performance. We discuss mechanisms that may generate such an adverse causal effect of positive self-evaluations, and conclude that self-esteem and effort need not always be complements but can actually be substitutes.

Suggested Citation

  • Himmler, Oliver & Koenig, Tobias, 2012. "Self-Evaluations and Performance: Evidence from Adolescence," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-507, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-507
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    File URL: http://diskussionspapiere.wiwi.uni-hannover.de/pdf_bib/dp-507.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jean-Marie Dufour & Mohamed Taamouti, 2005. "Projection-Based Statistical Inference in Linear Structural Models with Possibly Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1351-1365, July.
    2. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    3. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
    4. Drago, Francesco, 2011. "Self-esteem and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 480-488, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    7. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The returns to cognitive abilities and personality traits in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 535-546, June.
    8. 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.
    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 815-829, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Hoeschler & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Shooting for the Stars and Failing: College Dropout and Self-Esteem," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0100, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Apr 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-evaluations; Self-esteem; Non-cognitive Skills; Human Capital; Performance;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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