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Personality, IQ, and lifetime earnings

Miriam Gensowski

Labour Economics, 2018, vol. 51, issue C, 170-183

Abstract: This paper estimates the effects of personality traits and IQ on lifetime earnings of the men and women of the Terman study, a high-IQ U.S. sample. Age-by-age earnings profiles allow a study of when personality traits affect earnings most, and for whom the effects are strongest. I document a concave life-cycle pattern in the payoffs to personality traits, with the largest effects between the ages of 40 and 60. An interaction of traits with education reveals that personality matters most for highly educated men. The largest effects are found for Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness (negative), where Conscientiousness operates partly through education, which also has significant returns.

Keywords: Personality traits; Socio-emotional skills; Cognitive skills; Returns to education; Lifetime earnings; Big Five; Human capital; Factor analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 I24 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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