Economics at your fingertips  

The stability of personality traits in adolescence and young adulthood

Rosemary K. Elkins, Sonja C. Kassenboehmer and Stefanie Schurer
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Sonja Cornelia de New

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2017, vol. 60, issue C, 37-52

Abstract: Models of economic decision-making usually assume that personality is stable over time. We assess the validity of this assumption over an eight-year time frame in adolescence and young adulthood using nationally representative panel data from Australia. Our study shows that unconditional mean-level changes in personality traits are small—with the exception of conscientiousness which increases by 0.38SD—because most individuals do not change their scores in a statistically reliable way during adolescence and young adulthood, or changes occur in equal proportions in opposite directions. Controlling for systematic panel attrition and multiple hypothesis testing, we demonstrate that personality traits do not systematically respond to the majority of common one-off family-, income-, and health-related shocks. However, a small number of life events—marriage, family members detained in jail, leaving the workforce and long-term health problems—are associated with subsequent changes in personality. In particular, youth who experience long-term health problems including bodily pain increase their external locus of control by 0.5–0.9SD, an economically meaningful change when expressed in terms of hourly wage penalty.

Keywords: Non-cognitive skills; Big-five personality traits; Locus of control; Stability; Adolescence; Life-events; HILDA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 J10 J30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (30) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2016.12.005

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Psychology is currently edited by G. Antonides and D. Read

More articles in Journal of Economic Psychology from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Nithya Sathishkumar ().

Page updated 2021-05-02
Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:37-52