Can competitiveness predict education and labor market outcomes? Evidence from incentivized choices and survey measures
We assess the predictive power of two measures of competitiveness for education and labor market outcomes using a large, representative panel. The first is incentivized and is an online adaptation of the laboratory-based Niederle-Vesterlund measure. The second is an unincentivized survey question eliciting general competitiveness on an 11-point scale. The two measures are strongly correlated at the individual level and both measures are strong and consistent predictors of occupation, income, completed level of education and field of study in college. The predictive power of the unincentivized measure for these outcomes is robust to controlling for other traits, including risk attitudes, confidence and the Big Five personality traits. For most outcomes, the predictive power of competitiveness exceeds that of the other traits.