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

47 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

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)

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Date Written: June 2021

Abstract

We assess the predictive power of two measures of competitiveness for education and labor market outcomes using a large, representative survey 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 income, occupation, completed level of education and field of study. 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 percent of the observed gender differences in education and labor market outcomes.

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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 (June 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28916, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3866349

Thomas Buser (Contact Author)

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

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HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/thomasbuser/

Muriel Niederle

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Hessel Oosterbeek

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

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Amsterdam
Netherlands
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+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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