Journal Article

Worker Personality: Another Skill Bias beyond Education in the Digital Age


  • Bode
  • E.
  • Brunow
  • S.
  • Ott
  • I.
  • Sorgner
  • A.
Publication Date

We present empirical evidence suggesting that technological progress in the digital age will be biased not only with respect to skills acquired through education but additionally with respect to noncognitive skills (personality). We measure the direction of technological change by estimated future digitalization probabilities of occupations, and noncognitive skills by the Big Five personality traits from four German worker surveys. Even though we control for education and work experience, we find that workers who are more open to experience, emo¬tionally more stable and less agreeable will tend to be less susceptible to digitalization. We also find that future technological progress may not continue to hollow out the middle class as much as it did in the recent past. These results suggest that education and labor market policies should put more emphasis on childrens’ and workers’ personalities to strengthen their labor market resilience in the digital age.

Kiel Institute Experts


JEL Classification
C25, J24, O33

Key Words

  • digital4development
  • Germany
  • Noncognitive Skills
  • skill-biased technological change