Interpreting estimates of heritability – A note on the twin decomposition
While most outcomes may in part be genetically mediated, quantifying genetic heritability is a different matter. To explore data on twins and decompose the variation is a classical method to determine whether variation in outcomes, e.g. IQ or schooling, originate from genetic endowments or environmental factors. Despite some criticism, the model is still widely used. The critique is generally related to how estimates of heritability may encompass environmental mediation. This aspect is sometimes left implicit by authors even though its relevance for the interpretation is potentially profound. This short note is an appeal for clarity from authors when interpreting the magnitude of heritability estimates. It is demonstrated how disregarding existing theoretical contributions can easily lead to unnecessary misinterpretations and/or controversies. The key arguments are relevant also for estimates based on data of adopted children or from modern molecular genetics research.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Charles F. Manski, 2011. "Genes, Eyeglasses, and Social Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 83-94, Fall.
- Barnea, Amir & Cronqvist, Henrik & Siegel, Stephan, 2010.
"Nature or Nurture: What Determines Investor Behavior?,"
SIFR Research Report Series
72, Institute for Financial Research.
- Barnea, Amir & Cronqvist, Henrik & Siegel, Stephan, 2010. "Nature or nurture: What determines investor behavior?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 583-604, December.
- David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009.
"Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842.
- David, Cesarini & Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2007. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 679, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jan 2009.
- James J. Heckman, 2007.
"The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation,"
NBER Working Papers
13195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1976. "Intergenerational Transmission of Income and Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 436-40, May.
- Jonathan P. Beauchamp & David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Matthijs J. H. M. van der Loos & Philipp D. Koellinger & Patrick J. F. Groenen & James H. Fowler & J. Niels Rosenquist & A. Roy Thurik & N, 2011. "Molecular Genetics and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 57-82, Fall.
- Lundborg, Petter & Stenberg, Anders, 2010. "Nature, nurture and socioeconomic policy--What can we learn from molecular genetics?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 320-330, December.
- David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Heritability of Overconfidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 617-627, 04-05.
- Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1989. "Is Schooling "Mostly in the Genes"? Nature-N urture Decomposition Using Data on Relatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1425-46, December.
- Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
- Goldberger, Arthur S, 1978. "The Genetic Determination of Income: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 960-69, December.
- Taubman, Paul, 1976. "The Determinants of Earnings: Genetics, Family, and Other Environments; A Study of White Male Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 858-70, December.
- David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Örjan Sandewall & Björn Wallace, 2010. "Genetic Variation in Financial Decision-Making," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1725-1754, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:2:p:201-205. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.