The Big Five Personality Traits and Partisanship in England

49 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018

See all articles by Toke Skovsgaard Aidt

Toke Skovsgaard Aidt

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: November 16, 2017

Abstract

We propose a new framework for the study of the psychological foundation of party identification. We draw a distinction between the part of an individual’s party preference that is stable throughout adult life and the dynamic part responding to lifecycle events and macro shocks. We theorize that the Big Five personality traits exert a causal effect on the stable part of an individual’s party preference and provide evidence from a large nationally representative English panel dataset in support of this theory. We find that supporters of the major parties (Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) have substantively different personality traits. Moreover, we show that those not identifying with any party, who are close to holding the majority, are similar to those identifying with the Conservatives. We show that these results are robust to controlling for cognitive skills and parental party preferences, and to estimation on a subsample of siblings. The relationship between personality traits and party identification is stable across birth cohorts.

Keywords: Big Five personality traits, party identification, partisanship, England

JEL Classification: D790

Suggested Citation

Aidt, Toke Skovsgaard and Rauh, Christopher, The Big Five Personality Traits and Partisanship in England (November 16, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6732, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3100016

Toke Skovsgaard Aidt (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom
+44 1223 33 5231 (Phone)
+44 1223 33 5475 (Fax)

Christopher Rauh

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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