Describe the research design and empirical strategy that you would employ to study a causal relationship of your choice

The relationship between personal traits (e.g. non-cognitve skills, patience, risk preferences…) and an outcome (educational or labour)

Describe the research design and empirical strategy that you would employ to study a (causal) relationship of your choice. The relationship has to involve facets of personality that we have discussed in the course (e.g. personality traits, economic preference(s) such as risk preferences, time preferences, or social preferences, or cognitive skills). The relationship can, for example, be a relationship between preferences and an outcome, but it could also concern topics like determinants, transmission or malleability of facets of personality. (If you are in doubt whether your topic is suitable, feel free to contact me.)

There is a maximum of 3500 words for the description.

In your description of the research design, please state the research question and then describe what data (and variation in the data) is required to answer your research question, and how you would go about to collect it or which data from existing sources you would use. In that description, particular attention should be given in describing the method/strategy to measure/elicit the facet of personality of interest. Please discuss potential problems of the measure (both in relation to the underlying concept and sources of measurement error), but also virtues of the measure. Please motivate why you propose the measure to answer your research questions. (Note that some measures might have particular virtues, but may, for example, be too costly to elicit). The main part of the paper should also contain a motivation of the choice of the subject pool and other design features that are important to answer the research question. To pass the exam, the paper has to provide a sound research strategy to answer the research question that you propose. Moreover, the choice and discussion of the measure of the facet of personality (e.g., personality trait(s), economic preference(s), cognitive skills) of interest has to reflect a solid understanding of the different methods to measure the selected facet(s). The grade will depend on the relevance of the research question, the quality of the discussion of strengths and weaknesses of the design for data collection, ideas for the empirical investigation and the motivation of the research design.

Formal requirements concerning the assignment

Although content and innovativeness are the most important aspects for grading, the style, structure, language and layout will definitively also affect the assessment. Some formal requirements have to be met. A non-extensive list with points of attention is as follows:

• Papers should be written in clear and correct English.

• The line of argument should be to the point and, above all, clear. The papers should be easily accessible for an audience of graduates.

• Plagiarism must be avoided. You are not allowed to copy and paste from the literature or other sources without appropriate reference.

• Graphs and tables should be numbered and have a caption. Ideally tables or figures are self-explanatory, but you also have to describe the contents or meaning in the text.

• Use correct references: All cited papers should be included in the reference list and be consistent in your notation.