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Abstract

Growing evidence in the economics literature links “noncognitive” skills to economic, behavioral and demographic outcomes in the developed world. However, there is little such evidence linking these traits to economic outcomes in developing country contexts. This paper estimates the joint effect of five specific personality traits and cognition on the age of entry into the labor market, labor market sectoral selection, and within sector earnings for a sample of young adults in Madagascar. The personality traits we examine are known as 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 does indeed have an effect on these outcomes of interest and affects how these individuals respond to shocks in their labor decisions.

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