People Who Are Less Agreeable Get Higher Paychecks, Study Finds

People who are less agreeable are more highly paid, a new study concludes.

The pay difference is greater for men than women, according to the study. On average, disagreeable men earned about 18 percent more while disagreeable women earned about 5 percent more. The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) summarizes the findings (PDF), set to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The results are based on an analysis of three different surveys of workers and a separate study of 460 business students asked to make hiring decisions for fictitious job candidates. Beth Livingston of Cornell University is one of the study authors. “The problem is, many managers often don’t realize they reward disagreeableness,” Livingston told the newspaper.

She suggested a couple reasons for the pay differences. First, people who are more agreeable may be less assertive in salary negotiations. Also, agreeable men may not conform to expectations of masculine behavior.

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