Worker Personality: Another Skill Bias Beyond Education in the Digital Age

45 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2016

See all articles by Eckhardt Bode

Eckhardt Bode

Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Stephan Brunow

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Ingrid Ott

University of Lueneburg - Department of Economics

Alina Sorgner

University of Jena

Date Written: October 2016

Abstract

We present empirical evidence suggesting that technological progress in the digital age will be biased not only with respect to skills acquired through education but also with respect to noncognitive skills (personality). We measure the direction of technological change by estimated future digitalization probabilities of occupations, and noncognitive skills by the Big Five personality traits from several German worker surveys. Even though we control extensively for education and experience, we find that workers characterized by strong openness and emotional stability tend to be less susceptible to digitalization. Traditional indicators of human capital thus measure workers’ skill endowments only imperfectly.

Keywords: Worker personality, Noncognitive skills, Digital transformation, Direction of technical change, Germany

JEL Classification: C25, J24, O33

Suggested Citation

Bode, Eckhardt and Brunow, Stephan and Ott, Ingrid and Sorgner, Alina, Worker Personality: Another Skill Bias Beyond Education in the Digital Age (October 2016). SOEPpaper No. 875. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2884733

Eckhardt Bode (Contact Author)

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, Schleswig-Hosltein D-24100
Germany

Stephan Brunow

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany - Institute for Employment Research (IAB) ( email )

Regensburger Str. 104
Nuremberg, 90478
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iab.de

Ingrid Ott

University of Lueneburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Akademisches Auslandsamt
D-21332 Luneburg
Germany

Alina Sorgner

University of Jena ( email )

FĂĽrstengraben 1
Jena, 07743
Germany

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