Go to page

Bibliographic Metadata


Non-cognitive skills, such as the Big Five personality traits, determine many work and behavioral outcomes, such as labor market sorting. Likewise, numerous studies have shown that motives predict public versus private sector employment. This study is the first to investigate whether the interaction of motives and a further form of non-cognitive skills, namely locus of control, results in public versus private sector employment. Using a longitudinal German dataset, I determine that intrinsic motives (importance of civic engagement) moderate the relationship between locus of control and public sector employment, whereas the interaction of extrinsic motives (importance of career) and locus of control leads to private sector employment. Selection patterns at the start of the career and during the career explain a major part of the results. The findings are largely robust for revealed preferences, hold for the occupation groups of managers and professionals, and are driven by men and individuals without a migration background.