IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Personality Psychology and Economics

  • Mathilde Almlund
  • Angela Lee Duckworth
  • James J. Heckman
  • Tim D. Kautz

This paper explores the power of personality traits both as predictors and as causes of academic and economic success, health, and criminal activity. Measured personality is interpreted as a construct derived from an economic model of preferences, constraints, and information. Evidence is reviewed about the "situational specificity" of personality traits and preferences. An extreme version of the situationist view claims that there are no stable personality traits or preference parameters that persons carry across different situations. Those who hold this view claim that personality psychology has little relevance for economics. The biological and evolutionary origins of personality traits are explored. Personality measurement systems and relationships among the measures used by psychologists are examined. The predictive power of personality measures is compared with the predictive power of measures of cognition captured by IQ and achievement tests. For many outcomes, personality measures are just as predictive as cognitive measures, even after controlling for family background and cognition. Moreover, standard measures of cognition are heavily influenced by personality traits and incentives. Measured personality traits are positively correlated over the life cycle. However, they are not fixed and can be altered by experience and investment. Intervention studies, along with studies in biology and neuroscience, establish a causal basis for the observed effect of personality traits on economic and social outcomes. Personality traits are more malleable over the life cycle compared to cognition, which becomes highly rank stable around age 10. Interventions that change personality are promising avenues for addressing poverty and disadvantage.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16822.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16822.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “Personality Psychology and Economics,” (with A. Duckworth, M. Almlund and T. Kautz). In E. Hanushek, S. Machin, and L. Woessman, eds., Handbook of the Economics of Educa- tion , Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 1-181. (2011)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16822
Note: CH ED
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," Economics Discussion Papers 672, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Thomas DeLeire & Margo Coleman, 2000. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Working Papers 0019, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  3. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  4. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determinants," Munich Reprints in Economics 20057, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Aigner, Dennis J. & Hsiao, Cheng & Kapteyn, Arie & Wansbeek, Tom, 1984. "Latent variable models in econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 1321-1393 Elsevier.
  9. Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Hein Roelfsema, 2008. "Reciprocity and Incentive Pay in the Workplace," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-080/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. Jeffrey Carpenter & Eric Verhoogen & Stephen Burks, 2003. "The Effect of Stakes in Distribution Experiments," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 03-28, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," Working Papers 200934, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  13. Altmann, Steffen & Dohmen, Thomas & Wibral, Matthias, 2007. "Do the Reciprocal Trust Less?," IZA Discussion Papers 3010, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2003. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," NBER Working Papers 10068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Juan D. Barón & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2010. "Are Young People's Educational Outcomes Linked to their Sense of Control?," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 006978, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  16. Thomas Dee & Martin West, 2008. "The Non-Cognitive Returns to Class Size," NBER Working Papers 13994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marco Caliendo & Frank Fossen & Alexander S. Kritikos, 2008. "The Impact of Risk Attitudes on Entrepreneurial Survival," Working Papers 012, Hanseatic University, Germany, Department of Economics.
  18. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the technology of cognitive and noncognitive skill formation," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  20. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 1437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Drago, Francesco, 2008. "Self-Esteem and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 3577, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles & Melissa Osborne, 2001. "Incentive-Enhancing Preferences: Personality, Behavior, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 155-158, May.
  23. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  24. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2008. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?—evidence from donations," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 268-281, September.
  25. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Tan, Michelle, 2009. "Noncognitive Skills, Occupational Attainment, and Relative Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 4289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  27. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001. "Recursive Multiple-Priors," RCER Working Papers 485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  28. Mark Cullen & Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Iuliana Pascu, 2010. "How General Are Risk Preferences? Choices Under Uncertainty in Different Domains," Discussion Papers 09-005, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  29. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  30. Borghans Lex & Meijers Huub & Weel Bas ter, 2006. "The Role of Noncognitive Skills in Explaining Cognitive Test Scores," ROA Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  31. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  32. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  33. Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  34. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism – Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Discussion Papers in Economics 726, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  35. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Nathaniel Hilger & Emmanuel Saez & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Danny Yagan, 2010. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project STAR," NBER Working Papers 16381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. 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).
  38. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 592-612, 03.
  39. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  40. Marco Caliendo & Deborah Cobb-Clark & Arne Uhlendorff, 2010. "Locus of Control and Job Search Strategies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 979, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  41. Behncke, Stefanie, 2009. "How Do Shocks to Non-Cognitive Skills Affect Test Scores?," IZA Discussion Papers 4222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  42. Li-Wei Chao & Helena Szrek & Nuno Sousa Pereira & Mark V. Pauly, 2009. "Time preference and its relationship with age, health, and survival probability," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, February.
  43. Merve Cebi, 2007. "Locus of Control and Human Capital Investment Revisited," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  44. 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.
  45. Abbring, Jaap H. & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part III: Distributional Treatment Effects, Dynamic Treatment Effects, Dynamic Discrete Choice, and General Equilibrium Policy Evaluation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 72 Elsevier.
  46. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1997. "Inferring the rank of a matrix," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1-2), pages 223-250.
  47. Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm P. Harmon, 2009. "Psychological and Biological Foundations of Time Preference," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 659-669, 04-05.
  48. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16822. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.