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Genes, Eyeglasses, and Social Policy

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  • Charles F. Manski

Abstract

Someone reading empirical research relating human genetics to personal outcomes must be careful to distinguish two types of work: An old literature on heritability attempts to decompose cross-sectional variation in observed outcomes into unobservable genetic and environmental components. A new literature measures specific genes and uses them as observed covariates when predicting outcomes. I will discuss these two types of work in terms of how they may inform social policy. I will argue that research on heritability is fundamentally uninformative for policy analysis, but make a cautious argument that research using genes as covariates is potentially informative.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.25.4.83
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 25 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 83-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:25:y:2011:i:4:p:83-94

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.25.4.83
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Cited by:
  1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483.
  2. Vanessa Mertins & Andrea B. Schote & Jobst Meyer, 2013. "Variants of the Monoamine Oxidase A Gene (MAOA) Predict Free-riding Behavior in Women in a Strategic Public Goods Experiment," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201302, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  3. Maczulskij, Terhi, 2013. "Employment sector and pay gaps: Genetic and environmental influences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 89-96.
  4. Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Interpreting estimates of heritability – A note on the twin decomposition," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 201-205.
  5. Smith, Jonathan, 2013. "Ova and out: Using twins to estimate the educational returns to attending a selective college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 166-180.
  6. Terhi Maczulskij, 2012. "Employment sector and pay gaps: genetic and environmental influences," ERSA conference papers ersa12p755, European Regional Science Association.
  7. Hyytinen, Ari & Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Johansson, Edvard & Toivanen, Otto, 2013. "Heritability of Lifetime Income," MPRA Paper 46326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Loewen, Peter J. & Dawes, Christopher T. & Mazar, Nina & Johannesson, Magnus & Koellinger, Philipp & Magnusson, Patrik K.E., 2013. "The heritability of moral standards for everyday dishonesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 363-366.
  9. Olaf Hübler, 2012. "Are Tall People Less Risk Averse than Others?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 457, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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