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The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits

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Author Info

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    ()
    (University of Melbourne)

  • Schurer, Stefanie

    ()
    (University of Sydney)

Abstract

We use a large, nationally-representative sample of working-age adults to demonstrate that personality (as measured by the Big Five) is stable over a four-year period. Average personality changes are small and do not vary substantially across age groups. Intra-individual personality change is generally unrelated to experiencing adverse life events and is unlikely to be economically meaningful. Like other non-cognitive traits, personality can be modeled as a stable input into many economic decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5943.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics Letters, 2012, 115 (1), 11-15
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5943

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Keywords: non-cognitive skills; Big-Five personality traits; stability;

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References

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  1. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two economists’ musings on the stability of locus of control," Working Paper Series 1619, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  4. Guido Heineck & Silke Anger, 2008. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 836, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the effect of personality on male and female earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  6. Mathilde Almlund & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," NBER Working Papers 16822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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