Alternative Measures of Character Skills and Their Effect on Retirement Preparation and Financial Capability

Published: 2017
Project ID: UM17-12


Social science, more than ever, is drawing upon the insights of personality psychology. Though researchers know that character skills and personality traits, such as conscientiousness, grit, self-control, or a growth mindset could be important for life outcomes, they struggle to find reliable measures of these skills. Self-reports are often used for analysis but these measures have been found to be affected by important biases. We propose to validate innovative, more robust measures of character skills based on performance tasks. New measures along with self-reports, will then be used to study the role of character skills and personality traits on individual’s preparation for retirement and financial capability. In a world where individuals are increasingly asked to take responsibility for retirement preparation and when available financial products to do so are growing in sophistication, a better understanding of how character skills influence retirement preparation could help effective policy design.