Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Personality economics: An investigation of how personality develops and how it predicts decisions

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posted on 2022-01-11, 21:06 authored by Thomas Dudek

This thesis is the product of three research papers, of which each one forms a paper of this thesis. In thefirst paper, I study how people’s personality evolves and whether it is shaped by family dynamics,specifically by the sex of one’s siblings. Researchers developed a good understanding of the importanceof personality for people’s lives but know very little how this personality is shaped. The first paperinvestigates whether growing up with a sister instead of a brother might be a cause of different personalitydevelopment. In the second paper, I study two specific personality traits, locus of control and risktolerance, as predictors of decisions under risk. Although we know risk is a crucial part of our lives, we stillhave not determined how to define and measure risk attitudes properly. The second paper delves deeperinto this topic and shows how risk tolerance and locus of control predict risky decisions in an experimentand in real-world choices and gives some additional insight into the measurement of risk attitudes. In thispaper I also studied other personality traits, which turned out to have no important role with regards todecisions under risk. In the third and last paper, I study property insurance decisions with data collectedin an experiment. I designed and coded the experiment and collected this data partially in a computer laband partially online. This project investigates what behavioral and financial factors influence propertyinsurance decisions, especially the choice to insure with fixed-price long-term contracts.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Behavioural Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Economics and Finance


Feld, Jan; Ulm, Eric; Noy, Ilan