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Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Lab

Listed author(s):
  • Maria Cubel

    (University of Barcelona and IEB)

  • Ana Nuevo-Chiquero

    ()

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Santiago Sanchez-Pages

    ()

    (Edinburgh School of Economics and University of Barcelona)

  • Marian Vidal-Fernandez

    (University of New South Wales and IZA)

While survey data supports a strong relationship between personality and labor market outcomes, the exact mechanisms behind this association remain unexplored. In this paper, we take advantage of a controlled laboratory set-up to test whether this relationship operates through productivity, and isolate this mechanism from other channels such as bargaining ability or self-selection into jobs. Using a gender neutral real-effort task, we analyse the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance. We find that more neurotic subjects perform worse, and that more conscientious individuals perform better. These findings are in line with previous survey studies and suggest that at least part of the effect of personality on labor market outcomes operates through productivity. In addition, we find evidence that gender and university major affect the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance.

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File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2014_012.html
File Function: First version, August 2014
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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2014012.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2014
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2014012
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