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Locus of Control and Investment in Training


  • Caliendo, Marco

    () (University of Potsdam)

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Seitz, Helke

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Uhlendorff, Arne

    () (CREST)


This paper extends standard models of work-related training by explicitly incorporating workers' locus of control into the investment decision. Our model both differentiates between general and specific training and accounts for the role of workers and firms in training decisions. Workers with an internal locus of control are predicted to engage in more general training than are their external co-workers because their subjective expected investment returns are higher. In contrast, we expect little relationship between specific training and locus of control because training returns largely accrue to firms rather than workers. We then empirically test the predictions of our model using data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP). We find that, consistent with our model, locus of control is related to participation in general but not specific training. Moreover, we provide evidence that locus of control influences participation in general training through its effect on workers' expectations about future wage increases. Specifically, general training is associated with a much larger increase in the expected likelihood of receiving a future pay raise for those with an internal rather than external locus of control, while we do not find any relationship in the case of specific training. Actual post-training wages for those who receive general or specific training do not depend on locus of control.

Suggested Citation

  • Caliendo, Marco & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Seitz, Helke & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2016. "Locus of Control and Investment in Training," IZA Discussion Papers 10406, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10406

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Malte Preuss & Juliane Hennecke, 2017. "Biased by Success and Failure: How Unemployment Shapes Stated Locus of Control," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 943, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item


    human capital investment; on-the-job training; locus of control; wage expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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