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Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic and Health Behavior

Author

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  • Rustichini, Aldo

    () (University of Minnesota)

  • DeYoung, Colin G.

    () (University of Minnesota)

  • Anderson, Jon E.

    () (University of Minnesota, Morris)

  • Burks, Stephen V.

    () (University of Minnesota, Morris)

Abstract

Trait-based personality psychology and economics have taken different approaches to understanding individual differences, with the former emphasizing variables derived from the factor analysis of trait assessments, and the latter emphasizing variables derived from formal decision theory. In a data set on trainee truckers in a large US company, we provide a systematic initial assessment of the empirical pattern of relationships between the elements from these two approaches by comparing the predictive power of measurements derived from personality theory and decision theory for several individual characteristics and outcomes, and relating the two sets of measurements to each other. We show that personality traits have a comparable or stronger predictive power than do economic preferences for several dependent variables, including credit score, job persistence, and heavy truck accidents. They also have strong predictive power for Body Mass Index (BMI) and smoking status. Further, decision theory and personality variables are meaningfully related. For example, we confirm that cognitive ability explains a substantial part of time preferences, and find that Neuroticism and cognitive ability together explain attitudes toward risk. In addition, Agreeableness and cognitive ability explain aspects of other-regarding behavior in a strategic setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Rustichini, Aldo & DeYoung, Colin G. & Anderson, Jon E. & Burks, Stephen V., 2012. "Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic and Health Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 6750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6750
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burks, Stephen & Carpenter, Jeffrey & Goette, Lorenz, 2009. "Performance pay and worker cooperation: Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 458-469, June.
    2. Burks, Stephen & Carpenter, Jeffrey & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Which measures of time preference best predict outcomes: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 308-320.
    3. Stephen V. Burks & Jeffrey Carpenter & Lorenz Götte & Kristen Monaco & Kay Porter & Aldo Rustichini, 2008. "Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Firm: The Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project," NBER Chapters,in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 45-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Matthew Rabin & Georg Weizsacker, 2009. "Narrow Bracketing and Dominated Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1508-1543, September.
    5. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2010. "Experience and insight in the Race game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 144-155, August.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    7. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    8. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    3. Burks, Stephen V. & Cowgill, Bo & Hoffman, Mitchell & Housman, Michael, 2013. "The Value of Hiring through Referrals," IZA Discussion Papers 7382, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, July.
    5. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2016. "Risk preferences, risk perceptions, and risky food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 37-48.
    6. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2015. "The role of beliefs, trust, and risk in contributions to a public good," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 236-244.
    7. Lundberg, Shelly, 2014. "Skill Disparities and Unequal Family Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 8346, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Burks, Stephen V. & Lewis, Connor & Kivi, Paul A. & Wiener, Amanda & Anderson, Jon E. & Götte, Lorenz & DeYoung, Colin G. & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Cognitive skills, personality, and economic preferences in collegiate success," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 30-44.
    9. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    10. Sonia Di Giannatale & Alexander Elbittar & María José Roa, 2015. "Características de personalidad y cognitivas: Efectos sobre el comportamiento de repago," Documentos de Investigación - Research Papers 20, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA.
    11. Prokosheva, Sasha, 2016. "Comparing decisions under compound risk and ambiguity: The importance of cognitive skills," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 94-105.
    12. Zahra Murad & Martin Sefton & Chris Starmer, 2016. "How do risk attitudes affect measured confidence?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 21-46, February.
    13. Bucciol, Alessandro & Cavasso, Barbara & Zarri, Luca, 2015. "Social status and personality traits," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 245-260.
    14. Proto, Eugenio & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Life Satisfaction, Household Income and Personality Traits," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 988, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    15. Sara Savastano, 2012. "The Impact of Soft Traits and Cognitive Abilities on Life Outcomes: Subjective Wellbeing, Education Achievement, and Rational Choices: a Chocolate Tasting Experiment," CEIS Research Paper 241, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 17 Jul 2012.
    16. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    personality theory; decision theory; strategic behavior; credit score; smoking; obesity; prisoners' dilemma; job performance; heavy truck accident; truckload; turnover; trucker;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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