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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.

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  • 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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    Cited by:

    1. Adams-Prassl, A. & Boneva, T. & Golin, M & Rauh, C., 2022. "Perceived Returns to Job Search," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2231, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Buser, Thomas & Ranehill, Eva & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2021. "Gender differences in willingness to compete: The role of public observability," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    3. Kessel, Dany & Mollerstrom, Johanna & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2021. "Can simple advice eliminate the gender gap in willingness to compete?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 138(C).
    4. Helena Fornwagner & Monika Pompeo & Nina Serdarevic, 2020. "Him or her? Choosing competition on behalf of someone else," Discussion Papers 2020-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Christopher Roby, 2022. "Social Information and Gender Differences in Competitive Preferences," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 67(1), pages 24-45, March.
    6. Brandts, Jordi & El Baroudi, Sabrine & Huber, Stefanie J. & Rott, Christina, 2021. "Gender differences in private and public goal setting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 222-247.
    7. Fallucchi, Francesco & Nosenzo, Daniele & Reuben, Ernesto, 2020. "Measuring preferences for competition with experimentally-validated survey questions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 402-423.
    8. Bernd Frick, 2021. "Gender Differences in Risk-Taking and Sensation-Seeking Behavior: Empirical Evidence from “ExtremeSports”," De Economist, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 5-20, February.
    9. Buser, Thomas & Cappelen, Alexander & Gneezy, Uri & Hoffman, Moshe & Tungodden, Bertil, 2021. "Competitiveness, gender and handedness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    10. Thomas Buser & Huaiping Yuan, 2020. "Public Speaking Aversion," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-074/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Demid Getik & Marco Islam & Margaret Samahita, 2021. "The Inelastic Demand for Affirmative Action," Working Papers 202112, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    12. Christoph Siemroth & Lars Hornuf, 2021. "Do Retail Investors Value Environmental Impact? A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment with Crowdfunders," CESifo Working Paper Series 9197, CESifo.
    13. Lundberg, Shelly, 2022. "Gender Economics: Dead-Ends and New Opportunities," IZA Discussion Papers 15217, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Buser, Thomas & Grimalda, Gianluca & Putterman, Louis & van der Weele, Joël, 2020. "Overconfidence and gender gaps in redistributive preferences: Cross-Country experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 267-286.
    15. Getik, Demid & Islam, Marco & Samahita, Margaret, 2021. "The Inelastic Demand for Affirmative Action," Working Papers 2021:7, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    16. Dennie van Dolder & Martijn van Assem & Thomas Buser, 2020. "Gender and Willingness to Compete for High Stakes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-011/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    17. Fumagalli, Elena & Rezaei, Sarah & Salomons, Anna, 2022. "OK computer: Worker perceptions of algorithmic recruitment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(2).
    18. Buser, Thomas & Cappelen, Alexander & Tungodden, Bertil, 2021. "Fairness and Willingness to Compete," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 8/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    19. Almås, Ingvild & Berge, Lars Ivar & Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Somville, Vincent & Tungodden, Bertil, 2020. "Adverse selection into competition: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment in Tanzania," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 19/2020, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    20. Andreas Ziegler & Giorgia Romagnoli & Theo Offerman, 2020. "Morals in multi-unit markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-072/I, Tinbergen Institute, revised 10 Feb 2021.

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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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