Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle

Produced by: 
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Available from: 
June 2020
Paper author(s): 
Miriam Gensowski
Mette Gørtz
Stefanie Schurer
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

We describe gender and socioeconomic inequalities in the Big Five personality traits over the life cycle, using a facet-level inventory linked to administrative data. We estimate life-cycle profiles non-parametrically and test for cohort and sample-selection effects. We discuss the economic implications of the following findings: Women of all ages score more highly than men on all personality traits, including three that are positively associated with wages; Individuals with high own or parental education have more favorable traits except Conscientiousness; Over the life cycle, gender and socioeconomic gaps widen in Openness and shrink in Neuroticism, a trait associated with worse outcomes.


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