Secular rise in economically valuable personality traits

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/305654

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Jokela , M , Pekkarinen , T , Sarvimäki , M , Terviö , M & Uusitalo , R 2017 , ' Secular rise in economically valuable personality traits ' , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , vol. 114 , no. 25 , pp. 6527-6532 . https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1609994114

Title: Secular rise in economically valuable personality traits
Author: Jokela, Markus; Pekkarinen, Tuomas; Sarvimäki, Matti; Terviö, Marko; Uusitalo, Roope
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Medicum
University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä
Date: 2017-06-20
Language: eng
Number of pages: 6
Belongs to series: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
ISSN: 0027-8424
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/305654
Abstract: Although trends in many physical characteristics and cognitive capabilities of modern humans are well-documented, less is known about how personality traits have evolved over time. We analyze data from a standardized personality test administered to 79% of Finnish men born between 1962 and 1976 (n = 419,523) and find steady increases in personality traits that predict higher income in later life. The magnitudes of these trends are similar to the simultaneous increase in cognitive abilities, at 0.2-0.6 SD during the 15-y window. When anchored to earnings, the change in personality traits amounts to a 12% increase. Both personality and cognitive ability have consistent associations with family background, but the trends are similar across groups defined by parental income, parental education, number of siblings, and rural/ urban status. Nevertheless, much of the trends in test scores can be attributed to changes in the family background composition, namely 33% for personality and 64% for cognitive ability. These composition effects are mostly due to improvements in parents' education. We conclude that there is a "Flynn effect" for personality that mirrors the original Flynn effect for cognitive ability in magnitude and practical significance but is less driven by compositional changes in family background.
Subject: personality traits
cognitive ability
cohort effects
earnings
Flynn effect
CROSS-TEMPORAL METAANALYSIS
BIRTH COHORT DIFFERENCES
GENERATION ME
IQ GAINS
ABILITY
INSTITUTIONS
PERFORMANCE
PSYCHOLOGY
EDUCATION
STUDENTS
511 Economics
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