Personality and marital surplus

Shelly Lundberg
2012 IZA Journal of Labor Economics  
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research at DIW Berlin This series presents research findings based either directly on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) or using SOEP data as part of an internationally comparable data set (e.g. CNEF, ECHP, LIS, LWS, CHER/PACO). SOEP is a truly multidisciplinary household panel study covering a wide range of social and behavioral sciences: economics, sociology, psychology, survey methodology, econometrics and applied statistics,
more » ... plied statistics, educational science, political science, public health, behavioral genetics, demography, geography, and sport science. The decision to publish a submission in SOEPpapers is made by a board of editors chosen by the DIW Berlin to represent the wide range of disciplines covered by SOEP. There is no external referee process and papers are either accepted or rejected without revision. Papers appear in this series as works in progress and may also appear elsewhere. They often represent preliminary studies and are circulated to encourage discussion. Citation of such a paper should account for its provisional character. A revised version may be requested from the author directly. Any opinions expressed in this series are those of the author(s) and not those of DIW Berlin. Research disseminated by DIW Berlin may include views on public policy issues, but the institute itself takes no institutional policy positions. The SOEPpapers are available at Abstract. This paper uses data from the German Socio-economic Panel Study to examine the relationship between psychological traits, in particular personality, and the formation and dissolution of marital and cohabiting partnerships. Changing patterns of selection into and out of relationships indicate that the determinants of marital surplus have altered between older cohorts who were born in the years after World War II and younger cohorts born in the 1960s. For younger cohorts, relationships between personality traits and the probability of marriage are identical for men and women, which is consistent with returns to marriage that are based on joint consumption. Tastes for marital public goods are negatively related to openness to experience (a desire for change and variety) and positively related to conscientiousness for both men and women. Selection into marriage is associated with distinctly different personality profiles for older men and older women, suggesting that gender-specialized contributions to household public goods were an important source of marital surplus for these cohorts.
doi:10.1186/2193-8997-1-3 fatcat:vc2s7iivgzevlh5vrdxra632ry