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Nature, nurture and socioeconomic policy--What can we learn from molecular genetics?

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  • Lundborg, Petter
  • Stenberg, Anders

Abstract

Many countries use public resources to compensate individuals with genetic disorders, identified by behaviors/symptoms such as chronic diseases and disabilities. This paper draws attention to molecular genetic research which may provide a new dimension to our understanding of how socioeconomic outcomes are generated. We provide an overview of the recently emerging evidence of gene-environment interaction effects. This literature points out specific areas where policies may compensate groups of individuals carrying genetic risks, without the need to identify anyone's genetic endowments. Moreover, epigenetics studies, which concern heritable changes in gene functions that occur independently of the DNA sequence, have shown that environments may affect heritable traits across generations. It means that policies which neutralize adverse environments may also increase intergenerational mobility, given that genetic and/or environmental risk factors are more common in socially disadvantaged groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 320-330

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:3:p:320-330

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Genes Environment Inequality;

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Cited by:
  1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia, 2014. "A Validation Study of Transgenerational Effects of Childhood Conditions on the Third Generation Offspring's Economic and Health Outcomes Potentially Driven by Epigenetic Imprinting," IZA Discussion Papers 7999, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Gränsmark, Patrik, 2012. "Masters of our time: Impatience and self-control in high-level chess games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 179-191.
  3. Cook, C. Justin & Fletcher, Jason M., 2014. "Interactive effects of in utero nutrition and genetic inheritance on cognition: New evidence using sibling comparisons," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 144-154.
  4. Richter, André & Robling, Per Olof, 2013. "Multigenerational e ffects of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Working Paper Series 5/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  5. Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Interpreting estimates of heritability – A note on the twin decomposition," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 201-205.
  6. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus, 2012. "How important is family background for labor-economic outcomes?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474.
  7. Juho Härkönen & Hande Kaymakçalan & Pirjo Mäki & Anja Taanila, 2012. "Prenatal Health, Educational Attainment, and Intergenerational Inequality: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 525-552, May.
  8. Gränsmark, Patrik, 2012. "Masters of Our Time: Impatience and Self-control in High-level Chess Games," Working Paper Series 2/2012, Swedish Institute for Social Research.

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