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The stability of big-five personality traits

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah
  • Schurer, Stefanie

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.

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File URL: http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/1834
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Paper provided by Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Paper Series with number 1834.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwecf:1834
Contact details of provider: Postal: Alice Fong, Administrator, School of Economics and Finance, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600 Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (4) 463-5353
Fax: +64 (4) 463-5014
Web page: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sef
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  1. James J. Heckman, 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," NBER Working Papers 17378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two Economists’ Musings on the Stability of Locus of Control," IZA Discussion Papers 5630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  5. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2006. "Estimating the effect of personality on male and female earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 3-22, October.
  6. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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