Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic and Health Behavior

59 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2012

See all articles by Aldo Rustichini

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Colin G. DeYoung

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Jon C. Anderson

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association

Stephen V. Burks

University of Minnesota, Morris - Division of Social Science; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Center for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx); Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota

Abstract

Trait-based personality psychology and economics have taken different approaches to understanding individual differences, with the former emphasizing variables derived from the factor analysis of trait assessments, and the latter emphasizing variables derived from formal decision theory. In a data set on trainee truckers in a large US company, we provide a systematic initial assessment of the empirical pattern of relationships between the elements from these two approaches by comparing the predictive power of measurements derived from personality theory and decision theory for several individual characteristics and outcomes, and relating the two sets of measurements to each other. We show that personality traits have a comparable or stronger predictive power than do economic preferences for several dependent variables, including credit score, job persistence, and heavy truck accidents. They also have strong predictive power for Body Mass Index (BMI) and smoking status. Further, decision theory and personality variables are meaningfully related. For example, we confirm that cognitive ability explains a substantial part of time preferences, and find that Neuroticism and cognitive ability together explain attitudes toward risk. In addition, Agreeableness and cognitive ability explain aspects of other-regarding behavior in a strategic setting.

Keywords: personality theory, decision theory, strategic behavior, credit score, smoking, obesity, prisoners' dilemma, job performance, heavy truck accident, truckload, turnover, trucker

JEL Classification: D83, C72, C93

Suggested Citation

Rustichini, Aldo and DeYoung, Colin G. and Anderson, Jon C. and Burks, Stephen V., Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic and Health Behavior. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6750. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2119057

Aldo Rustichini (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Colin G. DeYoung

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Jon C. Anderson

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association ( email )

Marketing Services
1900 Hendon Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Stephen V. Burks

University of Minnesota, Morris - Division of Social Science ( email )

600 East 4th St.
Morris, MN 56267
United States
320-589-6191 (Phone)
320-589-6117 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.morris.umn.edu/academics/truckingproject/

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1883

Center for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/people/external/index.aspx

Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota ( email )

200 Transportation & Safety Bldg.
511 Washington Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN
United States
612-626-1077 (Phone)
612-625-6381 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cts.umn.edu/

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