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Behind Every High Earning Man Is a Conscientious Woman: A Study of the Impact of Spousal Personality on Wages

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  • Averett, Susan L.

    () (Lafayette College)

  • Bansak, Cynthia

    () (St. Lawrence University)

  • Smith, Julie K.

    () (Lafayette College)

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of a spouse's personality on earnings. We build on the growing literature spanning economics and psychology that investigates how personality traits affect one's own individual earnings. In particular, several of the big five personality characteristics (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness) have been shown to be predictors of own earnings. To our knowledge only one paper studies the relationship between spousal personality and labor market outcomes finding a strong correlation between the two. We extend this work to assess the linkage between spousal personality and earnings while accounting for the potential endogeneity of the selection into marriage. Using the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey from 2001†2013, we test which spousal personality characteristics affect earnings. Our results indicate that for men, having a conscientious wife raises his earnings while there is little consistent effect of husband's personality on his wife's earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Averett, Susan L. & Bansak, Cynthia & Smith, Julie K., 2018. "Behind Every High Earning Man Is a Conscientious Woman: A Study of the Impact of Spousal Personality on Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 11756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11756
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arnaud Dupuy & Alfred Galichon, 2014. "Personality Traits and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(6), pages 1271-1319.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    conscientiousness; Five Factor Model; HILDA; earnings; personality; marriage; assortative mating;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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