Personality, Lifetime Earnings, and Retirement Wealth

Published: 2010
Project ID: UM10-13


Lifetime earnings vary widely, even controlling for education. Households vary widely in their retirement wealth, even when controlling for lifetime income (Venti and Wise, 1998). The role of conscientiousness and other personality traits as independent factors in labor market outcomes early in the life cycle has recently been demonstrated (Borghans, Meijers, & Ter Weel, 2008 ). We propose to examine the association between personality measures assessed near or past the end of work life with lifetime labor market outcomes, and with retirement saving conditional on lifetime earnings, using data from the HRS and the linked Social Security administrative records.