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Are Economists' Preferences Psychologists' Personality Traits? A Structural Approach

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  • Jagelka, Tomáš

    (University of Bonn)

Abstract

This paper proposes a method for empirically mapping psychological personality traits to economic preferences. Careful modelling of random components of decision making is crucial to establishing the long supposed but empirically elusive link between economic and psychological systems for understanding differences in individuals' behavior. I use factor analysis to extract information on individuals' cognitive ability and personality and embed it within a Random Preference Model to estimate distributions of risk and time preferences, of their individual-level stability, and of people's propensity to make mistakes. I explain up to 50% of the variation in both average risk and time preferences and in individuals' capacity to make consistent rational choices using four factors related to cognitive ability and three of the Big Five personality traits. True differences in desired outcomes are related to differences in personality whereas actual mistakes in decisions are related to cognitive skill.

Suggested Citation

  • Jagelka, Tomáš, 2020. "Are Economists' Preferences Psychologists' Personality Traits? A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 13303, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13303
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    2. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2020. "Robust inference in risk elicitation tasks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(3), pages 195-209, December.
    3. Belzil, Christian & Pernaudet, Julie & Poinas, François, 2021. "Estimating Coherency between Survey Data and Incentivized Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 14594, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    5. Piovesan, Marco & Willadsen, Helene, 2021. "Risk preferences and personality traits in children and adolescents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 523-532.
    6. Amador-Hidalgo, Luis & Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & García-Muñoz, Teresa & Hernández-Román, Ana, 2021. "Cognitive abilities and risk-taking: Errors, not preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    7. Ksenia Rozhkova & Sergey Roshchin, 2021. "The Impact of Non-Cognitive Characteristics on the Higher Education Choice-Making: An Economist Perspective," Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 138-167.
    8. Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Brice Corgnet, 2022. "Cognitive finance," Chapters, in: Sascha Füllbrunn & Ernan Haruvy (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Finance, chapter 7, pages 73-88, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dahmann, Sarah C. & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2022. "The Predictive Power of Self-Control for Life Outcomes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 197(C), pages 725-744.
    10. Mequanint B. Melesse & Amos Nyangira Tirra & Yabibal M. Walle & Michael Hauser, 2023. "Understanding the Determinants of Aspirations in Rural Tanzania: Does Financial Literacy Matter?," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 35(6), pages 1294-1321, December.
    11. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Ángel Ballester, 2020. "Random Utility Models with Ordered Types and Domains," Working Papers 1176, Barcelona School of Economics.
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    15. Рожкова К. В. & Рощин С. Ю., 2021. "Влияние Некогнитивных Характеристик На Выбор Траекторий В Высшем Образовании: Взгляд Экономистов," Вопросы образования // Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 138-167.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    stochastic discrete choice; measurement error; decision error; personality traits; economic preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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