Harry Garretsen, Janka I. Stoker, Dimitrios Soudis, Ron Martin, Jason Rentfrow, 25 February 2018

The outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership came as a shock to most academic and policy experts. This column uses an extensive dataset of personality traits combined with socioeconomic data to show how the clustering of personality traits contributes to an understanding of the regional dispersion of the Brexit vote. Openness appears to be the trait that matters most – modest changes in this openness could actually have swung the vote across UK districts.

Markus Jokela, Tuomas Pekkarinen, Matti Sarvimäki, Marko Terviö, Roope Uusitalo, 11 July 2017

There is strong empirical evidence of a secular rise in intelligence, but a lack of consistently measured data has hampered the identification of a similar increase in non-cognitive skills. Based on an analysis of half a million Finnish males, this column presents evidence that a long-term increase in scores for traits such as self-confidence, sociability, and leadership motivation has taken place. Just as with cognitive abilities, higher test scores for personality traits predict higher earnings.