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Personality Traits and Political Participation: Evidence from South Korea



Using a nationally representative survey fielded in 2009, we analyze the relationships between personality traits and various modes of political participation in South Korea. We find statistically significant relationships between personality (measured by the Five-Factor Model) and several nonelectoral modes of participation. Openness correlates positively with protest participation, rally attendance, financial contributions to political causes, news media contacts, and political activities via the Internet. Agreeableness correlates negatively with these five participation modes as well as petition signing. Conscientiousness is positively associated with individual political acts (e.g., contacting news media and elected officials and donation), while it is negatively associated with collective actions such as participation in rally. However, we do not find any significant relationship between personality and voter turnout. Reflecting an unusually conflictual political climate of South Korea in 2008, we discuss these findings' implications focusing on the personality-situation interactions.