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Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle

Author

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  • Gensowski, Miriam

    (Rockwool Foundation Research Unit)

  • Gørtz, Mette

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Schurer, Stefanie

    (University of Sydney)

Abstract

We describe gender and socioeconomic inequalities in the Big Five personality traits over the life cycle, using a facet-level inventory linked to administrative data. We estimate life-cycle profiles non-parametrically and test for cohort and sample-selection effects. We discuss the economic implications of the following findings: Women of all ages score more highly than men on all personality traits, including three that are positively associated with wages; Individuals with high own or parental education have more favorable traits except Conscientiousness; Over the life cycle, gender and socioeconomic gaps widen in Openness and shrink in Neuroticism, a trait associated with worse outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Gensowski, Miriam & Gørtz, Mette & Schurer, Stefanie, 2020. "Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 13378, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13378
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    1. Rebecca Edwards & Rachael Gibson & Colm Harmon & Stefanie Schurer, 2021. "First-in-Their-Family Students at University: Can Non-Cognitive Skills Compensate for Social Origin?," Working Papers 2021-015, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; socio-emotional skills; personality traits; Big Five facets; life cycle dynamics; gender gap; intergenerational transmission;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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