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Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 358–372 | Cite as

The Mediation Effect of Education on Self-Esteem and Wages

  • Robert GirtzEmail author
Article
  • 415 Downloads

Abstract

Research suggests a positive relationship between adolescent self-esteem and adult wages. Drawing data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, I refine the empirical relationship between self-esteem, wages, and education. The effect of self-esteem on wages is positive and significant when estimating models for the entire sample. This effect, however, becomes statistically insignificant when estimating models for subsamples sorted by educational level. In addition, mediation models suggest that roughly one-third of the total effect of self-esteem on wages is mediated by education. In total, these results indicate that there is a significantly less pronounced direct effect of self-esteem on wages than previously found in the literature. A substantial portion of the effect self-esteem has on wages occurs through its effect on educational attainment.

Keywords

Self-esteem Personality Human capital Education Mediation 

Jel Classification

I20 J01 J24 J30 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Mark Owens, Joachim Zietz, Christian Brown, Josh Hill, and E. Anthon Eff for helpful assistance, comments, suggestions, and editing related to this article. All errors are my own.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessBlack Hills State UniversitySpearfishUSA

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