Heterogeneous returns to personality: the role of occupational choice

John, Katrin; Thomsen, Stephan
September 2014
Empirical Economics;Sep2014, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p553
Academic Journal
We analyze the role of personality in occupational choice and wages using data from Germany for the years 1992 to 2009. Characterizing personality by use of seven complementary measures (Big Five personality traits, locus of control, and a measure of reciprocity), the empirical findings show that personal characteristics are important determinants of occupational choice. Associated with that, identical personality traits are differently rewarded across occupations. Hence, breaking down the analysis on the level of occupational groups provides more detailed results of returns to personality. By evaluating different personality profiles, we additionally estimate the influence of personality as a whole. The estimates establish occupation-specific patterns of significant returns to particular personality profiles. These findings underline the importance to consider the occupational distribution when analyzing returns to personality due to its heterogeneous valuation.


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