- James J. Heckman
- Fall/Winter (2012-2013) 2013
- Link to foc292b (PDF)
- Link to foc292sup (PDF)
The ascent of behavioral economics produced a union of economics with cognitive psychology and neuroscience. This article discusses a new point of contact between economics and psychology: personality psychology. Personality psychology gives very rich descriptions of individual differences in traits and outcomes. Personality traits are important predictors of success in many areas of economic and social life. Individual variation in these personality traits—sometimes called “soft skills” or “character skills”—is an important source of inequality. Personality traits can be changed by intervention, and interventions that target personality are promising.
Children, Inequality & Mobility, Inequality & Mobility General, Transition to Adulthood