Personality and Political Tolerance: Evidence from India and Pakistan

SVEN OSKARSSON AND STEN WIDMALM
POLITICAL STUDIES (2014). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9248.12169

Abstract: Inspired by recent studies on personality and political attitudes and behaviour we use the Big Five approach to assess the influence of a comprehensive set of personality traits on political tolerance. Our study is based on surveys in Bhopal in India and Lahore in Pakistan. We find that all Big Five traits – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism – are significantly related to individuals’ willingness to grant political rights to groups they dislike in one or both countries. As one of only a few studies examining the relationship between the Big Five traits and political attitudes and behaviour outside a Western context, these findings demonstrate the importance of also paying attention to personality traits when studying contexts where situational factors such as political violence, poverty, and severe inequalities might be expected to be the main influence on individuals’ behavioural choices.