The relevance of personality traits for urban economic growth: making space for psychological factors

Garretsen, H., Stoker, J. I., Soudis, D., Martin, R. & Rentfrow, J., May-2019, In : Journal of Economic Geography. 19, 3, p. 541-565 25 p.

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  • The relevance of personality traits for urban economic growth

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Economic growth differences across regions and cities can only be partly explained by standard explanations in economic geography. One reason for this might be the neglect of the psychological make-up of cities and its citizens. To assess the value added of incorporating psychological factors alongside the more standard explanations, this paper tests the relevance of personality traits for economic growth for a sample of UK cities. We argue that Neuroticism and Conscientiousness, and the traits that make up entrepreneurship culture help to explain urban growth differences. The personality scores of >400,000 UK residents are combined with economic data for 63 UK cities from 1981 to 2011. We find that both Neuroticism and entrepreneurship culture matter for economic growth. Our main contribution is that geographically clustered personality traits help to understand economic growth differences, and add explanatory power over and above standard determinants, also when the recursive relationship between personality traits and economic growth is taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-565
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May-2019


  • Personality traits, psychology, economic geography, UK cities, LIFE-COURSE, MEAN-LEVEL, GEOGRAPHY, PATTERNS, CULTURE, PERFORMANCE, STABILITY, RULES, AGE

ID: 61917836