August 2011

IZA DP No. 5943: The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits

published in: Economics Letters, 2012, 115 (1), 11-15

We use a large, nationally-representative sample of working-age adults to demonstrate that personality (as measured by the Big Five) is stable over a four-year period. Average personality changes are small and do not vary substantially across age groups. Intra-individual personality change is generally unrelated to experiencing adverse life events and is unlikely to be economically meaningful. Like other non-cognitive traits, personality can be modeled as a stable input into many economic decisions.