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The influence of the Big 5 personality traits on young people’s political consumer behavior

Ellen Quintelier (Centre for Political Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this article is to use the “Big Five” personality structure (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional stability) to explore the relationship with political consumer behavior.


Political consumer behavior is (not) buying products for social, political or environmental reasons. Cited motivations for political consumption include preserving the environment, developing a sustainable economy or using boycotts as political pressure, alongside social reasons such as reducing child labor. We explored this relationship among two representative studies of young people using ordinary least squares regression.


We concluded that in particular openness to experience leads to more political consumer behavior. Agreeableness or trust in people also often has a positive effect on political consumer behavior, while the effects of extraversion tend on the contrary to be negative.

Research limitations/implications

Although in the literature the “Big Five” is generally accepted as the best measure for the main personality traits, there is no consensus on the measurement of personality. The research area has thus a clear need for a good, reliable measurement of the five personality traits, such as the TIPI or a short version of the bipolar personality scales.

Practical implications

The research suggests that a more specific approach towards young political consumers might be valuable.

Social implications

The research can influence how marketers deal with fair trade products or how boycotts can attract larger audiences. Through this knowledge, social responsibility and environmental conscientiousness will increase.


This article focuses on the personality traits and motivations of the political consumers and how these personality traits interact with the attitudes that motivate political consumption using representative samples of young people. It also focuses on a specific and different outcome, political consumption, whereas most studies focused solely on single items of pro-environmental behavior .



The author wants to thank the Research Foundation – Flanders for their generous support on this project (Grant No 1209511N, G032810N, G0A2312N).


Quintelier, E. (2014), "The influence of the Big 5 personality traits on young people’s political consumer behavior", Young Consumers, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 342-352.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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