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Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings

Listed author(s):
  • Gerrit Mueller

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Erik Plug

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

The authors adopt the Five-Factor Model of personality structure to explore how personalityaffected the earnings of a large group of men and women who graduated from Wisconsin highschools in 1957 and were re-interviewed in 1992. All five basic traits–extroversion, agreeableness,conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience–had statistically significant positiveor negative earnings effects, and together they appear to have had effects comparable to those commonlyfound for cognitive ability. Among men, substantial earnings advantages were associatedwith antagonism (the obverse of agreeableness), emotional stability (the obverse of neuroticism),and openness to experience; among women, with conscientiousness and openness to experience.Of the five traits, the evidence indicates that agreeableness had the greatest influence on genderdifferences in earnings: men were considerably more antagonistic (non-agreeable) than women,on average, and men alone were rewarded for that trait. This discussion paper resulted in a publication in the Industrial & Labor Relations Review , 2006, 60(1), 3-22.

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Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-087/3.

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Date of creation: 17 Aug 2004
Date of revision: 31 Aug 2005
Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20040087
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  1. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 74-103, Part II, .
  2. Lee Cronbach, 1951. "Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 16(3), pages 297-334, September.
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  9. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-829, October.
  10. Randall K. Filer, 1986. "The Role of Personality and Tastes in Determining Occupational Structure," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 412-424, April.
  11. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Second Edition," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1, December.
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