Personality, Lifetime Earnings, and Retirement Wealth

TitlePersonality, Lifetime Earnings, and Retirement Wealth
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsDuckworth, ALee, Weir, DR, Michigan Retirement Research Center
InstitutionMichigan Retirement Research Center, University of Michigan
CityAnn Arbor, MI
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Public Policy, Social Security

Studies of adolescents and young adults have shown that schooling impacts economic outcomes beyond its impact on cognitive ability. Research has also shown that the personality trait of conscientiousness predicts health outcomes, academic outcomes, and divorce. Using the Big Five taxonomy of personality traits, this study examines whether non-cognitive traits are related to economic success over the life course. Examining Health and Retirement Study survey data linked to Social Security records on over 10,000 adults age 50 and over, we investigate the relationship of personality traits to economic outcomes. Controlling for cognitive ability and background variables, do more conscientious and emotionally stable adults have higher lifetime earnings, and is this due to higher annual earnings, longer work lives, or both? Do more conscientious adults save a higher proportion of their earnings for retirement, and does conscientiousness of each partner in a married couple matter? Do conscientiousness and emotional stability interact such that the effects of conscientiousness are greater among less emotionally stable adults?

Endnote Keywords

health outcomes/cognitive ability/economic outcomes/earnings and Benefits File

Endnote ID


Citation Key5803