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Peers Affect Personality Development

Xiaoque Shan and Ulf Zölitz

No 9729, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: Do the people around us influence our personality? To answer this question, we conduct an experiment with 543 university students who we randomly assign to study groups. Our results show that students become more similar to their peers along several dimensions. Students with more competitive peers become more competitive, students with more open-minded peers become more open-minded, and students with more conscientious peers become more conscientious. We see no significant effects of peers’ extraversion, agreeableness, or neuroticism. To explain these results, we propose a simple model of personality development under the influence of peers. Consistent with the model’s prediction, personality spillovers are concentrated in traits predictive of performance. Students adopt personality traits that are productive in the university context from their peers. Our findings highlight that socialization with peers can influence personality development.

Keywords: personality; malleability; peer effects; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-exp, nep-hrm, nep-neu and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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