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Robert Girtz
 
''The Effects of Personality Traits on Wages: A Quantile Regression Approach''
( 2015, Vol. 35 No.4 )
 
 
Past research suggests that both adolescent self-esteem and locus of control have a positive effect on adult wages. Drawing data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I refine the empirical relationship between locus of control, self-esteem and wages. Articles discussing these relationships thus far have been mainly limited to OLS and other mean effect models. I extend the analysis of the effects of self-esteem and locus of control on wages by examining the effects of these traits across the wage distribution using a quantile regression framework. I find that the effect of self-esteem varies across the wage distribution. The effect of self-esteem on wages for those in the 60th wage decile and above is approximately 1.5 to 2 times stronger than those in the 30th wage decile and below. These results indicate that self-esteem has a higher effect on wages, at the margin, for those in higher paid occupations. I also find that the effect of locus of control on wages does not vary across the wage distribution and is statistically insignificant at most wage deciles.
 
 
Keywords: self-esteem, locus of control, personality, human capital, quantile regression
JEL: J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: General
 
Manuscript Received : Jul 13 2015 Manuscript Accepted : Oct 16 2015

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