# 12-028/1 (2012-03-26)

Julia Muller, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Christiane Schwieren, University of Heidelberg
Personality, Big Five, Five Factor Model, Incentives, Experiment, Trust Game
JEL codes:
C72, C91, D03

Growing interest in using personality variables in economic research leads to the question whether personality as measured by psychology is useful to predict economic behavior. Is it reasonable to expect values on personality scales to be predictive of behavior in economic games? It is undoubted that personality can influence large-scale economic outcomes. Whether personality variables can also be used to understand micro-behavior in economic games is however less clear. We discuss reasons in favor and against this assumption and test in our own experiment, whether and which personality factors are useful in predicting behavior in the trust or investment game. We can also use the trust game to understand how personality measures fare relatively in predicting behavior when situational constraints vary in strength. This approach can help economists to better understand what to expect from the inclusion of personality variables in their models and experiments, and where further research might be useful and needed.