This paper provides evidence on the association between individuals’ cognitive abilities, personality traits, and earnings. I find that cognitive skills and certain personality traits are complements. In particular, I find that cognitive skills and emotional stability are complementary, with neurotic individuals having significantly lower returns to their cognitive skills. Furthermore, my results indicate that agreeableness, neuroticism, and – surprisingly – grit are penalised signiﬁcantly in the labour market; and that there is a positive relationship between conscientiousness and wages. Finally, I observe that, contrary to previous findings, women and men have similar returns to personality traits. I use well-established measures of cognitive skills and personality: namely, competence tests from the PIAAC survey to assess cognitive skills, as well as the Big Five inventory and the Grit scale to assess personality traits.
This work was supported by the Polish National Science Centre (grant number 2017/27/B/HS4/01201).