Non-Cognitive Abilities And Labor Market Outcomes: The Role Of Work Ethic And Personality Traits On Supervisory Status And Promotion


  • Yu-Wei Luke Chu School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Susan J. Linz Department of Economics, Michigan State University



Noncognitive abilities, labor market, ethic and personality traits, supervisory status


A growing literature suggests that noncognitive abilities are important determinants of earnings. But empirical research on nonwage labor market outcomes is still limited due to data availability. In this paper, we collect employer-employee linked data from six former socialist countries and estimate three noncognitive abilities: adherence to work ethic, the preference for challenge versus affiliation, and locus of control, and their relationship with workers’ supervisory status and promotions. We find that these noncognitive abilities are strong predictors of the likelihood of being a supervisor and being promoted as well as the number of supervisees and promotions. We also study the role of noncognitive abilities in the gender gap in these labor market outcomes. Based on a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, gender differences in these noncognitive abilities can explain a modest proportion of the gender gap in supervisory status and promotions.


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