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Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle

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  • Miriam Gensowski

    (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Mette Goertz

    (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Stefanie Schurer

    (University of Sydney, School of Economics and IZA)

Abstract

We document gender and socioeconomic inequalities in personality over the life cycle (age 18-75), using the Big Five 2 (BFI-2) inventory linked to administrative data on a large Danish population. We estimate life-cycle profiles non-parametrically and adjust for cohort and sample-selection effects. We find that: (1) Women of all ages score more highly than men on all personality traits, including three that are positively associated with wages; (2) High-education groups score more favorably on Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism than low-education groups, while there is no socioeconomic inequality by Conscientiousness; (3) Over the life cycle, gender and socioeconomic gaps remain constant, with two exceptions: the gender and SES gaps in Openness to Experience widen, while gender di erences in Neuroticism, a trait associated with worse outcomes, diminish with age. We discuss the implications of these findings in the context of gender wage gaps, household production models, and optimal taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Miriam Gensowski & Mette Goertz & Stefanie Schurer, 2020. "Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle," CEBI working paper series 20-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kucebi:2016
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    2. Esposito, Piero & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2022. "Drivers of skill mismatch among Italian graduates: The role of personality traits," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1048, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; personality; big five-2 inventory; life cycle dynamics; gender disadvantage; socioeconomic disadvantage;
    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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