Personality and Political Behavior

52 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009

See all articles by Alan Gerber

Alan Gerber

Yale University - Department of Political Science; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Connor Raso

Independent

Shang E. Ha

Brooklyn College - CUNY

Date Written: February 11, 2009

Abstract

Using data from two recent surveys, we analyze the relationship between personality traits, as measured by the Five-factor Model, and political participation, political ideology, partisanship, and vote choice. We confirm previous findings, including the strong positive association between the personality trait of Openness and liberalism and between Conscientiousness and conservatism, and also report several new results. We merged administrative records containing actual turnout and party registration status with our survey data. Using this novel approach, we confirm that the strong relationship between personality and politics holds when actual behavior is substituted for survey reports. We also measure the association of personality and several forms of political participation, including voting, contributing, and volunteering. The effect of personality on participation is often comparable to, or larger in magnitude than, the effect of factors that are central in earlier models of turnout, such as religious attendance, age, education, and income.

Keywords: personality, Big Five, political behavior, partisanship, voting

Suggested Citation

Gerber, Alan and Huber, Gregory and Raso, Connor and Ha, Shang E., Personality and Political Behavior (February 11, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1412829 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1412829

Alan Gerber (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5232 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

Connor Raso

Independent

No Address Available

Shang E. Ha

Brooklyn College - CUNY ( email )

2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210
United States

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