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Inequality in personality over the life cycle

Miriam Gensowski (), Mette Gørtz () and Stefanie Schurer ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2021, vol. 184, issue C, 46-77

Abstract: We document gender and socioeconomic inequalities in personality over the life cycle (age 18–75), using the Big Five 2 (BFI-2) inventory linked to administrative data on a large Danish population. We estimate life-cycle profiles non-parametrically and adjust for cohort and sample-selection effects. We find that: (1) Women of all ages score more highly than men on all personality traits, including three that are positively associated with wages; (2) High-education groups score more favorably on Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism than low-education groups, while there is no socioeconomic inequality by Conscientiousness; (3) Over the life cycle, gender and socioeconomic gaps remain constant, with two exceptions: the gender and SES gaps in Openness to Experience widen, while gender differences in Neuroticism, a trait associated with worse outcomes, diminish with age. We discuss the implications of these findings in the context of gender wage gaps, household production models, and optimal taxation.

Keywords: Inequality; Personality; Big Five-2 Inventory; Life cycle dynamics; Gender disadvantage; Socioeconomic disadvantage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I31 J16 J24 J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Working Paper: Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle (2020) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:184:y:2021:i:c:p:46-77

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.01.018

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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