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Occupational Choice: Personality Matters

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  • Ham, Roger

    () (University of Western Sydney)

  • Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja)

    () (University of New South Wales)

  • Wells, Robert

    () (University of Western Sydney)

Abstract

In modern societies, people are often classified as "White Collar" or "Blue Collar" workers: that classification not only informs social scientists about the kind of work that they do, but also about their social standing, their social interests, their family ties, and their approach to life in general. This analysis will examine the effect of an individual's psychometrically derived personality traits and status of their parents on the probability of attaining a white collar occupation over the baseline category of a blue collar occupation; controlling for human capital and other factors. The paper uses data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to estimate a random effects probit model to capture the effects on the probability of being in a white collar occupation. The results are then examined using the average marginal effects of the different conditioning variables over the whole sample. The analysis confirms the previous findings of human capital theory, but finds that personality and parental status also have significant effects on occupational outcomes. The results suggest that the magnitude of the average marginal effect of parental status is small and the effect of the personality trait "conscientiousness" is large and rivals that of education. Finally, estimates of separate models for males and females indicate that effects differ between the genders for key variables, with personality traits in females having a relatively larger effect on their occupational outcomes due to the diminished effects of education.

Suggested Citation

  • Ham, Roger & Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Wells, Robert, 2009. "Occupational Choice: Personality Matters," IZA Discussion Papers 4105, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4105
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    Cited by:

    1. Maite Blázquez & Santiago Budría, 2012. "Overeducation dynamics and personality," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 260-283, March.
    2. E. Sahn David & M. Villa Kira, 2017. "Working Paper 280 - Labor Market Outcomes during Life Transition," Working Paper Series 2397, African Development Bank.
    3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Tan, Michelle, 2011. "Noncognitive skills, occupational attainment, and relative wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-13, January.
    4. Tran, Tuyen Quang & Tran, Anh Lan & Pham, Thai Minh & Van Vu, Huong, 2018. "Local governance and occupational choice among young people: First evidence from Vietnam," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 21-31.
    5. Henseke, Golo, 2011. "Retirement effects of heavy job demands," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 118, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/15003 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Carla Calero & Veronica Gonzales & Yuri Soares & Jochen Kluve & Carlos Henrique Corseuilt, 2014. "Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro," Ruhr Economic Papers 0486, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Sahn, David E. & Villa, Kira M., 2016. "Labor Outcomes during the Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood: The Role of Personality, Cognition, and Shocks in Madagascar," IZA Discussion Papers 10359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Calero, Carla & Corseuil, Carlos Henrique & Gonzales, Veronica & Kluve, Jochen & Soares, Yuri, 2014. "Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro," IZA Discussion Papers 8210, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Castro Campos, Bente, 2013. "Human capital differences or labor market discrimination? The occupational outcomes of ethnic minorities in rural Guizhou (China)," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 73, number 73.
    12. Ingo E. Isphording, 2010. "Risky Business – The Role of Individual Risk Attitudes in Occupational Choice," Ruhr Economic Papers 0187, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Isabelle Bensidoun & Danièle Trancart, 2015. "The Gender Wage Gap in France: the Role of Non-Cognitive Characteristics," Working Papers DT/2015/08, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    14. Isphording, Ingo E., 2010. "Risky Business – The Role of Individual Risk Attitudes in Occupational Choice," Ruhr Economic Papers 187, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0486 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:zbw:rwirep:0187 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Han, Euna & Norton, Edward C. & Powell, Lisa M., 2011. "Direct and indirect effects of body weight on adult wages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 381-392.
    18. Calero, Carla & Gonzales, Veronica & Soares, Yuri & Kluve, Jochen & Corseuil, Carlos Henrique, 2014. "Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro," Ruhr Economic Papers 486, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    19. A Aggarwal & R Freguglia & G Johnes & G Spricigo, 2011. "Education and labour market outcomes : evidence from India," Working Papers 615663, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    20. Sahn, David E. & Villa, Kira M., 2015. "The Role of Personality, Cognition and Shocks in Determining Age of Entry into Labor Market, Sector of Employment, and within Sector Earnings," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205673, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    21. Castro Campos, Bente, 0. "Official Ethnic Labels and Non-Agricultural Work in Guizhou (China)," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 53.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational choice; personality; human capital; dynasty hysteresis;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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