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The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits

Author

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  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Schurer, Stefanie

    () (University of Sydney)

Abstract

We use a large, nationally-representative sample of working-age adults to demonstrate that personality (as measured by the Big Five) is stable over a four-year period. Average personality changes are small and do not vary substantially across age groups. Intra-individual personality change is generally unrelated to experiencing adverse life events and is unlikely to be economically meaningful. Like other non-cognitive traits, personality can be modeled as a stable input into many economic decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 5943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5943
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
    2. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Stefanie Schurer, 2013. "Two Economists' Musings on the Stability of Locus of Control," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 358-400, August.
    4. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The returns to cognitive abilities and personality traits in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 535-546, June.
    6. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two economists’ musings on the stability of locus of control," Working Paper Series 1619, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-cognitive skills; Big-Five personality traits; stability;

    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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