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Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking

Author

Listed:
  • David, Cesarini

    (Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Dawes, Christopher T.

    (Political Science Department, University of California, San Diego)

  • Johannesson, Magnus

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Lichtenstein, Paul

    (Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet)

  • Wallace, Björn

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

In this paper, we use the classical twin design to provide estimates of genetic and environmental influences on experimentally elicited preferences for risk and giving. Using standard methods from behavior genetics, we find strong prima facie evidence that these preferences are broadly heritable and our estimates suggest that genetic differences explain approximately twenty percent of individual variation. The results thus shed light on an important source of individual variation in preferences, a source which has hitherto largely been neglected in the economics literature.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0679
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Genetics; Altruism; Risk Aversion; Preferences; Experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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