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The Effects of Personality Traits on Adult Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Siblings

  • Fletcher, Jason M.

    ()

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

While large literatures have shown that cognitive ability and schooling increases employment and wages, an emerging literature examines the importance of so-called "non-cognitive skills" in producing labor market outcomes. However, this smaller literature has not typically used causal methods in estimating the results. One source of heterogeneity that may play an important role in producing both personality and other non-cognitive skills and labor market outcomes is family background, including genetic endowments. This paper is the first to use sibling differences to estimate the effects of personality on employment and wages and is also able to control for many other sources of heterogeneity, including attractiveness, cognitive ability, schooling, occupation, and other factors. Overall, the findings suggest that personality measures are important determinants of labor market outcomes in adulthood and that the results vary considerably by demographic group. The findings also highlight the potential role of extraversion in leading to favorable labor market outcomes, which has not been documented in many other studies.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6391.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2013, 89, 122–135
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6391
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  2. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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