nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2014‒09‒08
two papers chosen by

  1. Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Lab By Maria Cubel; Ana Nuevo-Chiquero; Santiago Sanchez-Pages; Marian Vidal-Fernandez
  2. Socioeconomic Gradients in Children's Cognitive Skills: Are Cross-Country Comparisons Robust to Who Reports Family Background? By Jerrim, John; Micklewright, John

  1. By: Maria Cubel (University of Barcelona and IEB); Ana Nuevo-Chiquero (University of Sheffield); Santiago Sanchez-Pages (Edinburgh School of Economics and University of Barcelona); Marian Vidal-Fernandez (University of New South Wales and IZA)
    Abstract: While survey data supports a strong relationship between personality and labor market outcomes, the exact mechanisms behind this association remain unexplored. In this paper, we take advantage of a controlled laboratory set-up to test whether this relationship operates through productivity, and isolate this mechanism from other channels such as bargaining ability or self-selection into jobs. Using a gender neutral real-effort task, we analyse the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance. We find that more neurotic subjects perform worse, and that more conscientious individuals perform better. These findings are in line with previous survey studies and suggest that at least part of the effect of personality on labor market outcomes operates through productivity. In addition, we find evidence that gender and university major affect the impact of the Big Five personality traits on performance.
    Keywords: Big-Five; personality traits; experiment; labour productivity; performance
    JEL: C91 D03 J3 M5
    Date: 2014–08
  2. By: Jerrim, John (Institute of Education, University of London); Micklewright, John (Institute of Education, University of London)
    Abstract: The international surveys of pupil achievement – PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS – have been widely used to compare socioeconomic gradients in children's cognitive abilities across countries. Socioeconomic status is typically measured drawing on children's reports of family or home characteristics rather than information provided by their parents. There is a well established literature based on other survey sources on the measurement error that may result from child reports. But there has been very little work on the implications for the estimation of socioeconomic gradients in test scores in the international surveys, and especially their variation across countries. We investigate this issue drawing on data from PISA and PIRLS, focusing on three socioeconomic indicators for which both child and parental reports are present for some countries: father's occupation, parental education, and the number of books in the family home. Our results suggest that children's reports of their father's occupation provide a reliable basis on which to base comparisons across countries in socioeconomic gradients in reading test scores. The same is not true, however, for children's reports of the number of books in the home – a measure commonly used – while results for parental education are rather mixed.
    Keywords: educational inequality, socioeconomic status, measurement error, international comparisons, PISA, PIRLS
    JEL: C21 C81 I24
    Date: 2014–08

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