Personality and Response to the Financial Crisis

Published: 2011
Project ID: UM11-09


Our previous MRRC project demonstrated a clear association between the Big Five personality factor of conscientiousness and several important measures of lifetime economic success, including lifetime earnings and retirement wealth conditional on earnings. We now propose to extend this work in two directions: First, we intend to examine the role of personality in a prospective context by studying differences in how individuals and households responded to the financial crisis of 2008-09, relying primarily on an Internet survey of HRS respondents conducted in the second quarter of 2009. Second, we propose to examine two dimensions of conscientiousness (i.e., perseverance and self-control) that may be particularly associated with economic success. We will accomplish this second aim using an experimental module in the 2010 wave of HRS.