Eva M. Berger, DIW Berlin
Recent economic literature found that noncognitive skills play an important role in economic and social success like educational attainment and employment outcomes. In particular for employment probabilities, some studies even conclude that noncognitive skills have a larger impact than cognitive skills and that this pattern is especially pronounced for women. Building on this literature, this paper investigates how noncognitive traits affect the time until a mother returns to employment after childbirth. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), I refer to the concepts of Locus of Control and of the Big Five personality traits. I estimate a discrete survival model incorporating a discrete mixture distribution to summarize unobserved heterogeneity. The results indicate that women with a high score on agreeableness return to employment later. The effects of extraversion and belief in external control are both found to be inversely U-shaped. Individuals at both extremes of the traits return to employment later than individuals with moderate traits.