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High-school genetic diversity and later-life student outcomes: micro-level evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

Author

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  • C. Justin Cook

    () (University of California-Merced)

  • Jason M. Fletcher

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

Abstract A novel hypothesis posits that levels of genetic diversity in a population may partially explain variation in the development and success of countries. Our paper extends evidence on this question by subjecting the hypothesis to an alternative context that eliminates many competing hypotheses. We do this by aggregating representative individual-level data for high schools from a single US state (Wisconsin) in 1957, when the population was composed nearly entirely of individuals of European ancestry. Using this sample of high school aggregations, we too find a strong association between school-level genetic diversity and a range of student socioeconomic outcomes. Our use of survey data also allows for a greater exploration into the potential mechanisms of genetic diversity. In doing so, we find positive associations between genetic diversity and indexes for openness to experience and extraversion, two personality traits tied to creativity and divergent thinking.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Justin Cook & Jason M. Fletcher, 2018. "High-school genetic diversity and later-life student outcomes: micro-level evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 307-339, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10887-018-9157-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10887-018-9157-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2018. "Interpersonal Diversity and Socioeconomic Disparities Across Populations: A Reply to Rosenberg and Kang," Working Papers 2018-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2018. "The Out of Africa Hypothesis of Comparative Economic Development: Common Misconceptions," Working Papers 2018-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2018. "The Out of Africa Hypothesis of Comparative Economic Development: Common Misconceptions," Working Papers 2018-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Genetic diversity; Years of schooling; Income; Personality; Survey data;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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