Using genes to explore the relationship between personality, cognitive skills and labor market outcomes

  • Date:

    Jan 11th, 2023

  • Author:

    University of Amsterdam

  • Speaker:

    Thomas Buser

  • Time:

    16:00 - 17:00

  • Source:

    Paper, Paper

  • Abstract: A large literature establishes that cognitive and non-cognitive skills are strongly correlated with educational attainment and professional achievement. Due to reverse causality and selection issues, it is difficult to establish whether these links are due to causal effects of individual traits on career outcomes. We suggest a different approach: using within-family differences in the genetic tendency to exhibit the relevant traits as a source of exogenous variation. Genes are fixed over the life cycle and genetic differences between full siblings are random, making it possible to establish the causal effects of within-family variation in genetic tendencies. In a series of studies, we link genetic data from individuals in the Swedish Twin Registry to government registry data on study choices, earnings and professional achievement, finding strong causal links. Our results also demonstrate that education and labor market outcomes are partially the result of a genetic lottery. (based on joint work with Rafael Ahlskog, Magnus Johannesson, Philipp Koellinger and Sven Oskarsson)

  • Place:

    Zoom (online)

  • Links: