Behind Every High Earning Man is a Conscientious Woman: A Study of the Impact of Spousal Personality on Wages

45 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018

See all articles by Susan L. Averett

Susan L. Averett

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics

Julie K. Smith

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of a spouse's personality on earnings. We build on the growing literature spanning economics and psychology that investigates how personality traits affect one's own individual earnings. In particular, several of the big five personality characteristics (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness) have been shown to be predictors of own earnings. To our knowledge only one paper studies the relationship between spousal personality and labor market outcomes finding a strong correlation between the two. We extend this work to assess the linkage between spousal personality and earnings while accounting for the potential endogeneity of the selection into marriage. Using the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey from 2001-2013, we test which spousal personality characteristics affect earnings. Our results indicate that for men, having a conscientious wife raises his earnings while there is little consistent effect of husband's personality on his wife's earnings.

Keywords: conscientiousness, Five Factor Model, HILDA, earnings, personality, marriage, assortative mating

JEL Classification: J12, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Averett, Susan and Bansak, Cynthia and Smith, Julie K., Behind Every High Earning Man is a Conscientious Woman: A Study of the Impact of Spousal Personality on Wages. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11756. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3249870

Susan Averett (Contact Author)

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States
610-250-5307 (Phone)
610-250-8961 (Fax)

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics ( email )

One Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
United States

Julie K. Smith

Lafayette College - Department of Economics & Business ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ww2.lafayette.edu/~smithjk/

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