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The impact of long-run macroeconomic experiences on personality

Listed author(s):
  • Vellekoop, Nathanaël

Using two datasets containing demographically representative samples of the Dutch population, I study how lifetime experiences of aggregate labor market conditions affect personality. Three sets of findings are reported. First, experienced aggregate unemployment is negatively correlated with the levels of all Big Five personality traits, except for conscientiousness (no significant correlation). Second, in panel data models with individual fixed effects I find that changes in experienced aggregate unemployment cause changes in emotional stability and agreeableness for men, and conscientiousness for women. The correlation is positive, and effects are economically large. Thirdly, I report suggestive evidence that the main driver is experienced aggregate unemployment, instead of other macroeconomic variables as experienced GDP, stock market returns or inflation. Taken together, these findings suggest that changes in Big Five personality traits are systematically related to experienced aggregate labor market conditions.

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Paper provided by Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt in its series SAFE Working Paper Series with number 142.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:142
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  1. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2012. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 11-15.
  2. Ampudia, Miguel & Ehrmann, Michael, 2017. "Macroeconomic experiences and risk taking of euro area households," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 146-156.
  3. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
  4. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  5. Margo Coleman & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  6. Nyhus, Ellen K. & Pons, Empar, 2005. "The effects of personality on earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-384, June.
  7. Schmieder, Johannes F. & Wachter, Till von & Bender, Stefan, 2010. "The long-term impact of job displacement in Germany during the 1982 recession on earnings, income, and employment," IAB Discussion Paper 201001, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  8. Drago, Francesco, 2011. "Self-esteem and earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 480-488, June.
  9. Groves, Melissa Osborne, 2005. "How important is your personality? Labor market returns to personality for women in the US and UK," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 827-841, December.
  10. Viinikainen, Jutta & Kokko, Katja, 2012. "Personality traits and unemployment: Evidence from longitudinal data," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1204-1222.
  11. Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2015. "Locus of control and the labor market," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, December.
  12. 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, 08.
  13. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
  14. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2016. "Learning from Inflation Experiences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 53-87.
  15. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, January.
  16. Paola Giuliano & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2014. "Growing up in a Recession," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 787-817.
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