Doctoral Defence: ”Essays on Education, Personality and the Labor Market”

March 4, 2022

On March 11th, M.Soc.Sc. (Econ.) Ramin Izadi will defend his doctoral dissertation ”Essays on Education, Personality and the Labor Market”.

The thesis is a collection of three essays. The first two essays discuss the association of personality traits with education and labor market outcomes. The first essay explores the contrast between what skills and personality traits are required in school versus what is valued in the labor market. The second essay investigates the importance of personality traits in adapting to unexpected adverse labor market shocks, specifically job loss. The final essay is a data driven case study on primary school teacher selection in Finland.

The main finding of the first essay is that while some personality traits (dutifulness, deliberation, achievement motivation) predict academic achievement, other traits (sociability, activity-energy, masculinity) seem to hamper school performance but still be conducive to success in the labor market. Furthermore, the labor-market premium for these traits has rapidly increased over the past two decades, while the premium for the ‘school-oriented’ traits has decreased.

The second essay shows that extraverted individuals recover faster from mass layoffs than smart or conscientious individuals. This finding appears to be driven by smaller dis-employment effects: extraverted individuals find re-employment faster in a similar occupation and industry they worked in before.

The final essay demonstrates that in Finland, past test performance is a poor predictor of teacher aptitude, as measured by expert evaluators during entrance interviews for teacher training programs. In other words, teacher training programs in Finland are not looking to enroll the academically best students. Relative to other university graduates, teachers have high wages but low earnings, which helps to explain the popularity of teacher training programs that allows the programs to be selective.

Ramin Izadi works as a Researcher in VATT Institute for Economics Research, Helsinki.

More information: Defense of Dissertation in Economics, Ramin Izadi, M.Soc.Sc. (Econ.) | Aalto University