Stratification processes in the labour market: The importance of personality traits and social networks for labour market outcomes

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2011
End date: 31/12/2013
Funding: 4200000 SEK


The overall purpose of the project is to study the role of social networks, personality and cognitive ability in understanding mechanisms behind stratification in the Swedish labor market. Stratification is studied in terms of pay (extra attention is paid to top-wage earners in large private and public organizations). The project ties together two different fields of stratification research. One is labor market sociology, emphasizing contextual factors behind labor market success, such as social capital and socio-economic background. The other is economic psychology that tends to emphasize individuals factors, such as cognitive ability and personality to explain labor market success. Linking register information on work and family with enlistment data makes it possible to study whether the importance of personality and cognitive ability differ depending on the individual's position in the wage distribution within large organizations (more than 100 employees). One important question is whether personality, given education and class origin, help explaining social differences in men's chances of reaching top wage positions. The project also aims to study the role of kinship- and peer-networks (social capital) to understand success in the labor market. The networks are potential and constructed from register information on the individual's family and educational background. This is a good opportunity to also examine gender differences in network effects. The final part of the project aims to increase our understanding about mechanisms behind the well-documented gender wage gap. With new data on personality in the Swedish Level of Living Survey 2010, gender differences in personality traits can be studied for a first time using a national representative sample. Taken together, these studies will increase the understanding of social stratification by coupling new empirical results to old and new theoretical questions emanating from sociology and economic psychology.

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13