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Identification Problems in Personality Psychology

Author

Listed:
  • Borghans, Lex

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Heckman, James J.

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Humphries, John Eric

    () (Yale University)

Abstract

This paper discusses and illustrates identification problems in personality psychology. The measures used by psychologists to infer traits are based on behaviors, broadly defined. These behaviors are produced from multiple traits interacting with incentives in situations. In general, measures are determined by these multiple traits and do not identify any particular trait unless incentives and other traits are controlled for. Using two data sets, we show, as an example, that substantial portions of the variance in achievement test scores and grades, which are often used as measures of cognition, are explained by personality variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," IZA Discussion Papers 5605, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5605
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-2086, October.
    3. Lex Borghans & Huub Meijers & Bas Ter Weel, 2008. "The Role Of Noncognitive Skills In Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(1), pages 2-12, January.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    5. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
    6. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.),Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 1-181, Elsevier.
    7. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. John Cawley & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1999. "On Policies To Reward The Value Added By Educators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 720-727, November.
    9. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    10. Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Papers on Personality and Economics
      by Liam Delaney in Economics and Psychology Research on 2012-04-18 15:30:00
    2. Journal session on personality and economics
      by Liam Delaney in Economics and Psychology Research on 2012-05-04 17:58:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maite Blázquez & Santiago Budr�a, 2012. "Overeducation dynamics and personality," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 260-283, March.
    2. Thiel, Hendrik & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2013. "Noncognitive skills in economics: Models, measurement, and empirical evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 189-214.
    3. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    4. Büchner Charlotte & Smits Wendy & Velden Rolf van der, 2012. "Education, cognitive skills and earnings of males and females," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    5. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "The importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for measuring IQ," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 17-28.
    6. LEE SunYoun & OHTAKE Fumio, 2014. "The Effects of Personality Traits and Behavioral Characteristics on Schooling, Earnings, and Career Promotion," Discussion papers 14023, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Daniel Falkstedt & Kimmo Sorjonen & Tomas Hemmingsson & Ian J Deary & Bo Melin, 2013. "Psychosocial Functioning and Intelligence Both Partly Explain Socioeconomic Inequalities in Premature Death. A Population-Based Male Cohort Study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(12), pages 1-8, December.
    8. Lee, Sun Youn & Ohtake, Fumio, 2018. "Is being agreeable a key to success or failure in the labor market?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 8-27.
    9. James J. Heckman & Chase O. Corbin, 2016. "Capabilities and Skills," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 342-359, July.
    10. Sonia Di Giannatale. & Daniel Ventosa-Santaulària. & María José Roa. & Alexander Elbittar. & Darío Trujano., 2020. "The Role of Cognitive and Personality Characteristics in Timely Microcredit Repayment: Evidence from a Survey Conducted by Provident, Mexico. (El papel de las características cognitivas y de personali," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 1-20, May.
    11. Delaney, Liam & Harmon, Colm & Ryan, Martin, 2013. "The role of noncognitive traits in undergraduate study behaviours," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 181-195.
    12. Sara Flisi & Elena Claudia Meroni & Esperanza Vera-Toscano, 2016. "Educational outcomes and immigrant background," JRC Working Papers JRC102629, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    13. Heckman, James J. & Raut, Lakshmi K., 2016. "Intergenerational long-term effects of preschool-structural estimates from a discrete dynamic programming model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(1), pages 164-175.
    14. Victor Lavy & Giulia Lotti & Zizhong Yan, 2016. "Empowering Mothers and Enhancing Early Childhood Investment: Effect on Adults Outcomes and Children Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," NBER Working Papers 22963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Castillo, Marco & Jordan, Jeffrey L. & Petrie, Ragan, 2018. "Children’s rationality, risk attitudes and field behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 62-81.
    16. Luik, Marc-André & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2016. "Immigrant-native differences in stockholding – The role of cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 103-119.
    17. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard evidence on soft skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 451-464.
    18. Maria Cubel & Ana Nuevo‐Chiquero & Santiago Sanchez‐Pages & Marian Vidal‐Fernandez, 2016. "Do Personality Traits Affect Productivity? Evidence from the Laboratory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(592), pages 654-681, May.
    19. Cuesta, Maite Blázquez & Budría, Santiago, 2017. "Unemployment persistence: How important are non-cognitive skills?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 29-37.
    20. Hendrik Thiel & Stephan L. Thomsen & Bettina Büttner, 2014. "Variation of learning intensity in late adolescence and the effect on personality traits," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 177(4), pages 861-892, October.
    21. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Sergio Urzua & Gregory Veramendi, 2010. "The effects of educational choices on labor market, health, and social outcomes," Working Papers 2011-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    22. Balart, Pau & Oosterveen, Matthijs & Webbink, Dinand, 2018. "Test scores, noncognitive skills and economic growth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 134-153.
    23. Juliane Hennecke, 2020. "Locus of Control and Female Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2020-03, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    24. Carl Sanders & Christopher Taber, 2012. "Life-Cycle Wage Growth and Heterogeneous Human Capital," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 399-425, July.
    25. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "The importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for measuring IQ," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 17-28.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    achievement test; identification problem; personality; psychology; grades;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other

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