Non-cognitive skills and earnings in Canada

This newly published paper (click on the first link here) by McLean, Bouaissa, Rainville, and Auger confirms some more general results, usually taken from American data:

Our results indicate that conscientiousness is positively associated with wages, while agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism are associated with negative returns, with higher magnitudes on agreeableness and conscientiousness for females. Cognitive ability has the highest estimated wage return so, while significant, non-cognitive skills do not seem to be the most important wage determinant.

The main difference seems to be that in Canada extraversion is correlated with lower earnings, but in the United States in general it is not.  And note that a one standard deviation increase in agreeableness for women is associated with a 7.4-8.7% income penalty, but no corresponding income penalty for men.  Finally, (p.112) that the rate of return on education is over seven percent, and after adjusting for cognitive level this falls by only 30 percent, relevant for the signaling model of education of course.


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