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Household Finances and the 'Big Five' Personality Traits

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Author Info

  • Brown, Sarah

    ()
    (University of Sheffield)

  • Taylor, Karl

    ()
    (University of Sheffield)

Abstract

We explore the relationship between household finances and personality traits from an empirical perspective. Specifically, using individual level data drawn from the British Household Panel Survey, we analyse the influence of personality traits on financial decision-making at the individual level focusing on decisions regarding unsecured debt acquisition and financial assets. Personality traits are classified according to the 'Big Five' taxonomy: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. We find that certain personality traits such as extraversion and openness to experience exert relatively large influences on household finances in terms of the levels of debt and assets held. In contrast, personality traits such as conscientiousness and neuroticism appear to be unimportant in influencing levels of unsecured debt and financial asset holding. Our findings also suggest that personality traits have different effects across the various types of debt and assets held. For example, openness to experience does not appear to influence the probability of having national savings but is found to increase the probability of holding stocks and shares, a relatively risky financial asset.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6191.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6191

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Keywords: Big Five personality traits; financial assets; unsecured debt;

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  1. Caliendo, Marco & Fossen, Frank M. & Kritikos, Alexander S., 2011. "Personality Characteristics and the Decision to Become and Stay Self-Employed," IZA Discussion Papers 5566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Sarah Brown & Gaia Garino & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Mortgages and Financial Expectations: A Household-Level Analysis," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 857-878, January.
  9. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Working Paper Series 1834, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
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  13. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Household debt and financial assets: evidence from Germany, Great Britain and the USA," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 171(3), pages 615-643.
  14. Parker,Simon C., 2009. "The Economics of Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521899604, October.
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  18. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor & Gaia Garino & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2003. "Debt and financial expectations: an individual and household level analysis," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/5, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Feb 2004.
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Cited by:
  1. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Mathias G. Sinning, 2013. "Locus of Control and Savings," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n42, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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