Socio-Emotional Skills as Determinants of Occupational Mobility

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 07.06.2016, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Miriam Gensowski (University of Copenhagen)


We examine the extent to which socio-emotional skills influence the intergenerational link between fatherís occupation and sonís occupational aspirations. Occupations in both generations are ranked by their average wage and by task requirements in three domains. We find that socio-emotional skills like Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience, and Emotional Stability significantly boost wage aspirations of sons, holding constant the fatherís position. Furthermore, these traits promote selection into occupations that use the sonís skills intensively, and significantly weaken the intergenerational dependence in task requirements. This implies that sons are both more likely to ďmove upĒ and improve matches in terms of the utilization of their occupational skills if they possess these soft skills. In a study of potential mechanisms, we show that socio-emotional traits increase the frequency with which sons seek out vocational counseling or discuss their future plans with other adults. These discussions, in turn, are associated with mobility Ė especially discussions about future occupations with a counselor. Discussions with fathers about the future, however, are associated with increases in intergenerational occupational dependence.

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