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Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction

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Author Info

  • Christopher Boyce

    ()

  • Alex Wood

    ()

  • Nattavudh Powdthavee

    ()

Abstract

Personality is the strongest and most consistent cross-sectional predictor of high subjective well-being. Less predictive economic factors, such as higher income or improved job status, are often the focus of applied subjective well-being research due to a perception that they can change whereas personality cannot. As such there has been limited investigation into personality change and how such changes might bring about higher well-being. In a longitudinal analysis of 8625 individuals we examine Big Five personality measures at two time points to determine whether an individual’s personality changes and also the extent to which such changes in personality can predict changes in life satisfaction. We find that personality changes at least as much as economic factors and relates much more strongly to changes in life satisfaction. Our results therefore suggest that personality can change and that such change is important and meaningful. Our findings may help inform policy debate over how best to help individuals and nations improve their well-being. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 111 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 287-305

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:111:y:2013:i:1:p:287-305

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135

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Related research

Keywords: Personality change; Big Five; Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Fixed effects; Income;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Binder & Andreas Freytag, 2012. "Volunteering, Happiness and Public Policy," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  2. Seeun Jung & Carole Treibich, 2014. "Is Self-Reported Risk Aversion Time Varying?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00965549, HAL.
  3. Alex Coad & Martin Binder, 2013. "Causal linkages between work and life satisfaction and their determinants in a structural VAR approach," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  4. Piper, Alan T., 2012. "Heaven knows I’m miserable now: overeducation and reduced life satisfaction," MPRA Paper 46926, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2013.
  5. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2012. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you…" Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," SPRU Working Paper Series 200, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  6. Layard, Richard & Clark, Andrew E. & Cornaglia, Francesca & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Vernoit, James, 2013. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-Course Model of Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 7682, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jinhu Li & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2014. "Does Increasing Schooling Improve Later Health Habits? Evidence from the School Reforms in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2012. "Examining Mechanisms of Personality Maturation: The Impact of Life Satisfaction on the Development of Big Five Personality Traits," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 455, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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