Personality and Public Sector Employment

33 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Terhi Maczulskij

Terhi Maczulskij

University of Jyväskylä - School of Business and Economics

Jutta Viinikainen

University of Jyväskylä


Using a representative survey combined with register data on long-term labour market outcomes, this paper examines how personality traits predict sorting into public and private sector employment among prime working-age individuals. To gain deeper insights into the dynamic dimensions of the sorting process, we also study the role of personality traits in the decisions to enter or exit public sector work. Our robust results show that public sector workers are more social, while private sector workers exhibit more orderly behaviour. The link between orderliness and sectoral sorting is partly explained by the reduced entry of individuals with high levels of orderliness into public sector employment. High sociability is also financially better rewarded in the public sector, which may implicitly indicate a good fit between this trait and job performance in that sector.

JEL Classification: J23, J45

Suggested Citation

Maczulskij, Terhi and Viinikainen, Jutta, Personality and Public Sector Employment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14118, Available at SSRN: or

Terhi Maczulskij (Contact Author)

University of Jyväskylä - School of Business and Economics ( email )

University of Jyväskylä
PO Box 35
FIN 40351, FIN-40014

Jutta Viinikainen

University of Jyväskylä ( email )

Seminaarinkatu 30
Jyväskylä, 40100

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics