Too scared to achieve: the relation between neuroticism, conscientiousness and socioeconomic outcomes

Caroline Wehner

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

588 Downloads (Pure)


Economic studies show that low emotional stability is negatively related to socioeconomic outcomes, while conscientiousness predicts desirable results. Possible mechanisms behind these relations are far less explored. The dissertation addresses this research gap both theoretically and empirically by including psychological insights into an economic model. Differences in expectations and the individual problem-solving ability are explored as an important channel for the observed relations between personality and socioeconomic outcomes. The results suggest that both low emotionally stable and low conscientious individuals have a higher risk to be trapped in a disadvantageous circle of negative expectations and experiences throughout life. Interventions already in school might reduce this risk.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Borghans, Lex, Supervisor
  • Schils, Trudie, Co-Supervisor
Award date25 May 2018
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789086664498
Publication statusPublished - 2018

JEL classifications

  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j08 - Labor Economics Policies


  • emotional stability
  • socioeconomic outcomes
  • conscientiousness
  • expectations

Cite this