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Personality and Positionality

Authors Alpaslan Akay
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords Personality Characteristics, Survey Experiments, Positional Concerns
Subject categories Economics


This paper employs survey experiments to examine the relationship between personality characteristics and positional concerns across a wide range of “goods,” e.g., income and market value of a car, and “bads,” e.g., infant mortality and poverty rates. Personality characteristics are measured using the five-factor model (Big-5), the locus of control, and the reciprocity. We demonstrate that there are significant relationships between personality types and positional concerns, which differ both by the type of personality and by the nature of a good. The results are highly consistent with the predictions presented in the field of personality psychology. That is, while agreeableness is negatively associated, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and external locus of control are positively associated with positional concerns for most goods. Importantly, there is also a substantial heterogeneity in the mean degree of positional concerns across the low and high values of most personality characteristics and goods.

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