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Working Paper 280 - Labor Market Outcomes during Life Transition
There is growing evidence that noncognitive skills affect economic, behavioral, and demographic outcomes in the developed world. However, little such evidence exists from developing countries. This paper estimates the joint effect of five specific personality traits and cognition on a sequence of labor market outcomes for a sample of Malagasy individuals as they transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Specifically we model these individuals’ age of entry into the labor market, labor market sectoral selection, and within-sector earnings. The personality traits we examine are the Big Five Personality Traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Additionally, we look at how these traits interact with household-level shocks in determining their labor market entry decisions. We find that personality, as well as cognitive test scores, affect these outcomes of interest, and that their impact on labor supply is, in part, a function of how individuals respond to exogenous shocks.