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Personality and the marginal utility of income: Personality interacts with increases in household income to determine life satisfaction

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  • Boyce, Christopher J.
  • Wood, Alex M.
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    Abstract

    Economics implicitly assumes that the marginal utility of income is independent of an individual's personality. We show that this is wrong. This is the first demonstration that there are strong personality–income interactions. In an analysis of 13,615 individuals over 4-years we show that individuals who have high levels of conscientiousness obtain more satisfaction to their lives from increases to their household income. There are strong gender differences and women that are open-to-experiences, introverted or neurotic get lower satisfaction from household income increases. Our findings have important implications for the use of financial incentives to influence behavior. In the future, public policy may benefit from being personality-specific.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 183-191

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:78:y:2011:i:1:p:183-191

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

    Related research

    Keywords: Life satisfaction; Personality; GSOEP; Marginal utility of income;

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    Cited by:
    1. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Boyce, Christopher J. & Wood, Alex M., 2011. "Can Money Change Who We Are? Estimating the Effects of Unearned Income on Measures of Incentive-Enhancing Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 6131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Akay, Alpaslan & Giulietti, Corrado & Robalino, Juan David & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "Remittances and Well-Being among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 6631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," Working Papers 733, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2014. "Autonomy-enhancing Paternalism," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_800, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2013. "Direct Evidence on Income Comparisons and Subjective Well-Being," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 549, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Proto, Eugenio & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Life Satisfaction, Household Income and Personality Traits," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 988, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Dusanee Kesavayuth & Robert Rosenman & Vasileios Zikos, 2013. "Does Personality Affect how People Perceive their Health?," Working Papers 2013-13, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    8. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
    9. Maite Blázquez Cuesta & Santiago Budría, 2013. "Does income deprivation affect people’s mental well-being?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1312, Banco de Espa�a.
    10. Schurer, Stefanie & Yong, Jongsay, 2012. "Personality, well-being and the marginal utility of income: What can we learn from random coefficient models?," Working Paper Series 2040, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    11. repec:cge:warwcg:85 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-cognitive Skills," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 441, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    14. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
    15. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Mathias G. Sinning, 2013. "Locus of Control and Savings," Ruhr Economic Papers 0455, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    16. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "Conscientious consumers? Preferences, personality and expenditure in the UK," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.

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