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There is ample evidence from different research disciplines that location factors such as employment opportunities or the availability of amenities and facilities are a powerful predictor of settlement behaviour. Recent research suggests that citizens’ mean personality traits could be an additional predictor of where young people settle. We therefore explore 1) the extent to which recent graduates in the Netherlands are geographically clustered with respect to five different personality traits, 2) whether the geographical clustering of graduates is intensified as they grow older, 3) how regional environmental characteristics are related to personality traits, and 4) the extent to which personality traits play a role in graduates’ location choices. Our results reveal a distinct geographical clustering of personality traits among the different regions in the Netherlands. We also show that this geographical clustering becomes more blurred as graduates age. The results furthermore show robust associations between personality traits and several environmental characteristics with respect to demographic, economic, health, political, sociocultural, crime, and religious outcomes. In addition, we show that personality traits play a role in graduates’ location choices. Economic factors seem to have a larger impact in determining location choices than personality traits.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020

Publication series

SeriesROA Research Memoranda

JEL classifications

  • j61 - "Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers"
  • r23 - "Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics"
  • d91 - "Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving"


  • personality traits
  • geographical psychology
  • recent graduates
  • settlement behaviour


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