Can Competitiveness Predict Education and Labor Market Outcomes? Evidence from Incentivized Choice and Survey Measures

45 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020

See all articles by Thomas Buser

Thomas Buser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hessel Oosterbeek

University of Amsterdam - Research Institute in Economics & Econometrics (RESAM); Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 20, 2020

Abstract

We assess the predictive power of two measures of competitiveness for education and labor market outcomes using a large, representative panel. The first is incentivized and is an online adaptation of the laboratory-based Niederle-Vesterlund measure. The second is an unincentivized survey question eliciting general competitiveness on an 11-point scale. Both measures are strong and consistent predictors of completed level of education, field of study in college, occupation and income. The predictive power of the new unincentivized measure for these outcomes is robust to controlling for other traits, including risk attitudes, confidence and the Big Five personality traits. For most outcomes, the predictive power of competitiveness exceeds that of the other traits. Gender differences in competitiveness can explain 5-10% of the observed gender differences in education and labor market outcomes.

Keywords: competitiveness, career decisions, validated survey measures

JEL Classification: C9, I20, J24, J16

Suggested Citation

Buser, Thomas and Niederle, Muriel and Oosterbeek, Hessel, Can Competitiveness Predict Education and Labor Market Outcomes? Evidence from Incentivized Choice and Survey Measures (January 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3549354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3549354

Thomas Buser (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
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HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/thomasbuser/

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
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Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Hessel Oosterbeek

University of Amsterdam - Research Institute in Economics & Econometrics (RESAM) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4242 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5283 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fee.uva.nl/scholar/oosterbeek/

Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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