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Challenges in Research on Preferences and Personality Traits: Measurement, Stability, and Inference


  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah

    () (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)


This paper reviews several traditions in economic research on preferences as well as research on personality traits in personality psychology and lists challenges in both fields. We discuss challenges regarding the measurement of preferences and personality traits, challenges regarding the stability of preferences and traits, and challenges when inferring causality. Additionally, we highlight areas in which we see potential benefits from taking into account methodological approaches or insights from the respective other discipline.

Suggested Citation

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2017. "Challenges in Research on Preferences and Personality Traits: Measurement, Stability, and Inference," IZA Discussion Papers 10562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10562

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bart H.H. Golsteyn & Hans Grönqvist & Lena Lindahl, 2014. "Adolescent Time Preferences Predict Lifetime Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 739-761, November.
    2. Lex Borghans & Bart Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries, 2016. "What Grades and Achievement Tests Measure," Working Papers 2016-022, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2013. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 510-531, February.
    4. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    5. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
    6. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    7. Christopher Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie Morris & Jonathon Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual laboratory-measured discount rates predict field behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-269, December.
    8. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
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    12. Anger, Silke & Camehl, Georg & Peter, Frauke, 2017. "Involuntary job loss and changes in personality traits," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 71-91.
    13. Schurer, Stefanie, 2015. "Lifecycle patterns in the socioeconomic gradient of risk preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 482-495.
    14. Falk, Armin & Becker, Anke & Dohmen, Thomas & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2016. "The Preference Survey Module: A Validated Instrument for Measuring Risk, Time, and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 9674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2011. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence From Fishermen In Toyama Bay," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 612-630, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Preuss, Malte & Hennecke, Juliane, 2017. "Biased by success and failure: How unemployment shapes stated locus of control," Discussion Papers 2017/29, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Goeddeke, Anna & Haucap, Justus & Herr, Annika & Wey, Christian, 2017. "Flexibility in wage setting under the threat of relocation," DICE Discussion Papers 269, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

    More about this item


    preferences; personality traits; measurement; stability; causality;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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