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Can Competitiveness predict Education and Labor Market Outcomes? Evidence from Incentivized Choice and Survey Measures

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  • Thomas Buser
  • Muriel Niederle
  • Hessel Oosterbeek

Abstract

We assess the predictive power of two measures of competitiveness for education and labor market outcomes using a large, representative survey panel. The first is incentivized and is an online adaptation of the laboratory-based Niederle-Vesterlund measure. The second is an unincentivized survey question eliciting general competitiveness on an 11-point scale. Both measures are strong and consistent predictors of income, occupation, completed level of education and field of study. The predictive power of the new unincentivized measure for these outcomes is robust to controlling for other traits, including risk attitudes, confidence and the Big Five personality traits. For most outcomes, the predictive power of competitiveness exceeds that of the other traits. Gender differences in competitiveness can explain 5-10 percent of the observed gender differences in education and labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2021. "Can Competitiveness predict Education and Labor Market Outcomes? Evidence from Incentivized Choice and Survey Measures," NBER Working Papers 28916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28916
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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