27 January 2021

The research paper "Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle"

by Mette Gørtz, Miriam Gensowski and Stefanie Schurer accepted  in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

The authors document gender and socioeconomic inequalities in personality over the life cycle (age 18-75), using the Big Five 2 (BFI-2) inventory linked to administrative data on a large Danish population. They estimate life-cycle profiles non-parametrically and adjust for cohort and sample-selection effects.

They find that:

(1) Women of all ages score more highly than men on all personality traits, including three that are positively associated with wages;

(2) High-education groups score more favorably on Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism than low-education groups, while there is no socioeconomic inequality by Conscientiousness;

(3) Over the life cycle, gender and socioeconomic gaps remain constant, with two exceptions: the gender and SES gaps in Openness to Experience widen, while gender differences in Neuroticism, a trait associated with worse outcomes, diminish with age. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of gender wage gaps, household production models, and optimal taxation.

You can read more in the research paper "Inequality in Personality over the Life Cycle" here.