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Personality traits, Big five, Local government participation, Citizen engagement
Do citizens' personality traits affect their likelihood of interacting with local public officials? Using psychology's preferred approach for operationalizing personality — the "Big Five" trait framework — and two nationally-representative survey data sets from the U.S., we examine this question, and find that: (1) citizens who score higher on openness and extraversion traits have an increased likelihood of attending a local government board meeting; and (2) personality traits that predict the likelihood a citizen will contact a local government official vary based on whether that official holds an elected or non-elected position. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for citizen engagement scholarship, and outline ways to extend this research in future studies.