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IQ and Family Background: Are Associations Strong or Weak?

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Author Info

  • Björklund Anders

    ()
    (Stockholm University)

  • Hederos Eriksson Karin

    ()
    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Jäntti Markus

    ()
    (Stockholm University)

Abstract

For the purpose of understanding the underlying mechanisms behind intergenerational associations in income and education, recent studies have explored the intergenerational transmission of abilities. We use a large representative sample of Swedish men to examine both intergenerational and sibling correlations in IQ. Since siblings share both parental factors and neighbourhood influences, the sibling correlation is a broader measure of the importance of family background than the intergenerational correlation. We use IQ data from the Swedish military enlistment tests. The correlation in IQ between fathers (born 1951-1956) and sons (born 1966-1980) is estimated to 0.347. The corresponding estimate for brothers (born 1951-1968) is 0.473, suggesting that family background explains approximately 50% of a person's IQ. Estimating sibling correlations in IQ, we thus find that family background has a substantially larger impact on IQ than has been indicated by previous studies examining only intergenerational correlations in IQ.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:2

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores," NBER Working Papers 14274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
  3. Hertz Tom & Jayasundera Tamara & Piraino Patrizio & Selcuk Sibel & Smith Nicole & Verashchagina Alina, 2008. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-48, January.
  4. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Family environment and IQ
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-09-15 14:20:00
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Cited by:
  1. Grönqvist, Erik & Vlachos, Jonas & Öckert, Björn, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Abilities," Working Paper Series 884, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2010-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
  4. John Ermisch & Chiara Pronzato, 2010. "Causal Effects of Parents’ Education on Children’s Education," CHILD Working Papers wp05_10, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  5. Gabriela Aparicio & Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran, 2013. "Are Sunday Babies Doomed for Life? Measuring the Sunday-Born Achievement Gap in Ecuador," Working Papers 2013-2, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

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