Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to investigate whether, and, if so, to what extent, the valuation that nations place on individual personality traits change with economic growth and development. Design/methodology/approach – The paper compares the averages of the cross-country valuations of eight different personality characteristics for various levels of development, and, in addition, employs cross-country regression analysis to assess the impact of economic growth on the value placed on these characteristics. Findings – In general, the findings of both the comparative analysis and the cross-country regression analysis indicate that the valuation counties place on individual personality characteristics change with economic growth and development, and for certain characteristics, rather dramatically. Research limitations/implications – A major implication of the findings of the paper is that economic growth may not just act in a neutral fashion by merely providing additional material goods, but may have profound effect on future national identity, on the definition of the type of individual that a nation values. Practical implications – Since economic growth changes the way personality characteristics are valued by a nation, it is possible that the growth process itself can alter the future growth prospects of a nation, because some personality characterizes are apt to be growth fostering, while others are likely to be growth inhibiting. Originality/value – The paper should be of interest to anyone interested in the changes brought about by growth and development.