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Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings

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  • Gerrit Mueller

    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Erik Plug

    (Faculty of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-087/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 Aug 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20040087
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    Cited by:

    1. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2008. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    2. Del Bono, Emilia & Vuri, Daniela, 2011. "Job mobility and the gender wage gap in Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 130-142, January.
    3. Alan Manning & Joanna Swaffield, 2008. "The gender gap in early-career wage growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 983-1024, July.
    4. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Ham, Roger & Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Wells, Robert, 2009. "Occupational Choice: Personality Matters," IZA Discussion Papers 4105, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    7. Kevin Denny & Vincent O’ Sullivan, 2007. "The Economic Consequences of Being Left-Handed: Some Sinister Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    8. Joanna K. Swaffield, 2007. "Estimates Of The Impact Of Labour Market Attachment And Attitudes On The Female Wage," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(3), pages 349-371, June.
    9. Rodgers III, William M. & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "The Male Marital Wage Differential: Race, Training, and Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1745, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Emilia Del Bono & Daniela Vuri, 2008. "Job mobility and the gender wage gap," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 7-DEISFOL, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2008.
    11. Kim, Jinho, 2016. "Personality traits and body weight: Evidence using sibling comparisons," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 54-62.
    12. Kevin Denny & Orla Doyle, 2005. "Political interest, cognitive ability and personality : determinants of voter turnout in Britain (version 1.5)," Working Papers 200511, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    13. Andrea Galeotti & Gerrit Müller, 2005. "Friendship Relations in the School Class and Adult Economic Attainment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-032/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 08 Aug 2005.
    14. Lindeboom, Maarten & Lundborg, Petter & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2009. "Obesity and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the British NCDS," IZA Discussion Papers 4099, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    personality and wages; gender wage gap;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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