Monday, September 15, 2008

Being "Open" doesn't make you wealthy?   posted by Razib @ 9/15/2008 12:12:00 PM

At least on the state level. A bold Swede who is not shy about plotting data took a stab at checking to see if the results in the personality variation paper could also show trends in GDP per capita:
Extroversion correlated weakly positive (0.16), agreeableness moderately (0.31), conscientiousness moderately (0.34), neuroticism weakly (0.13) and openness negatively (-0.26). That seems odd.

I have plotted the different factors vs GDP below (click for a larger version), with a bundle of regression lines added (each corresponds to the data minus one state, thus showing a bit how stable the estimates are).

Here's my explanation: the same state which has Silicon Valley also has Fresno (no offense to Fresno). The correlations I reported yesterday between Openness and something like patent production would only be generated by the tails of the social distribution. Silicon Valley, not Fresno. There's a reason that The Audacious Epigone looked at both high school graduation rates and college degree holding rates. The two don't always go in the same direction....

Update: From the comments::
He's interpreted the data wrong. Specifically, he plotted the state rank, not the z-value, and so the lowest valued states have the highest openness. The graph then does in fact show that higher openness produces higher per capita GDP. In fact all his correlations have the wrong sign because of this.

Still, he should plot the z-value instead.

If Anders doesn't do this, I might instead....

Labels: ,