Four Essays on the Role of Personality in the Transition from the Education System to the Labor Market

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Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2020-10-14
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Advisor: Pull, Kerstin (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2018-12-12
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
330 - Economics
370 - Education
650 - Management and auxiliary services
Keywords: Persönlichkeit , Übergang , Bildung , Bildungssystem , Arbeitsmarkt
Other Keywords:
Education System
Labor Market
License: Publishing license including print on demand
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This dissertation studies the role of personality in the transition from the education system to the labor market, based on person-environment fit theory. Four empirical studies are conducted that use psychological and sociological constructs to enrich economic research on education. The first study focuses on students at university and examines the role of personality traits and field of study for experimentally assessed positional preferences, that is, preferences concerning the relative position in comparison to others. It shows that narcissism differentially predicts positional preferences depending on the type of narcissism, and that students majoring in business administration or economics have a significantly lower tendency to exhibit positional preferences than other students. The second study turns to the transition to the labor market and examines the relationship between civic virtue – the wish to contribute to society – and public versus private sector employment, based on a representative dataset of the population in Germany. It shows that civic virtue relates positively to public sector employment when holding other motives and personality traits constant, that this association holds within various job branches, and that it is explained by (self-) selection before the start of the career. The third study focuses on teachers and analyzes the relationship between risk aversion and the teaching profession. It shows that working as a teacher is positively associated with risk aversion and especially with occupation-related risk aversion – that is, teachers tend to avoid risks in their occupational career. Teachers’ higher risk aversion already holds at career outset, and the results suggest that additional socialization processes may reinforce this relationship. The fourth study is concerned with economic effects of the field choice at university and investigates to what extent the relationships between field of study and later earnings are due to (self-) selection by abilities, personality, and socioeconomic background, using a longitudinal dataset with a cohort design spanning 14 years. It shows that psychological and sociological conditions at the end of high school predict earnings even when holding field of study constant, and the results suggest that (self-) selection by these individual characteristics may account for 15.9–47.0% of the significant associations between field of study and earnings. The four studies have implications for educational policy, educational leadership, and employers’ human resource management, and they inform students’ decision-making.

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