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Economic Preferences and Personality Traits Among Finance Professionals and the General Population

Martin Holmen (), Felix Holzmeister (), Michael Kirchler (), Matthias Stefan () and Erik Wengström ()

Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck

Abstract: Given their relevance for the financial well-being of many private investors and the economy as a whole, the behavior and personality traits of finance professionals have come under scrutiny. To better understand characteristics of the main protagonists of the finance industry, we run artefactual field experiments with finance professionals and a sample of the working population to investigate differences across industry-relevant economic preferences and personality traits. We report that finance professionals differ along several economic preferences and personality traits. However, we show that after adjusting for socio-economic characteristics many differences disappear and finance professionals only remain slightly more risk tolerant, less trustworthy, show a slightly increased level of psychopathy, and are more competitive than comparable participants. To shed light on the question why finance professionals differ from employees in other industries, we run an survey on experts with hiring experience to investigate whether they consider industry selection, self-selection, and imprinting by industry norms as explanatory for the observed subject pool differences. We find that experts conceive all three channels to be relevant, which is consistent with the assumption that the three channels are mutually correlated.

Keywords: experimental finance; economic preferences; personality traits; finance professionals; general working population (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 G11 G41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 60
Date: 2021-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cwa and nep-exp
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