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Are Personality Traits Really Fixed and Does It Matter?

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  • Steven Stillman
  • Malathi Velamuri

Abstract

A nascent but burgeoning literature examines the importance of non-cognitive skills in determining success across many facets of life. The majority of these papers treat these skills as fixed traits for adults. We estimate the impact of a number of life events on the Big Five personality traits and locus of control. A subset of life events have large impacts on these non-cognitive skills, especially on locus of control. For some events, these impacts persist in the medium-run. We then demonstrate that treating personality traits as fixed can lead to biased estimates of their relationship with socioeconomic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Stillman & Malathi Velamuri, 2020. "Are Personality Traits Really Fixed and Does It Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8359, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    personality; non-cognitive skills; life events; fixed traits;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General

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