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Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 679.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 22 Nov 2007
Date of revision: 12 Jan 2009
Publication status: Forthcoming in Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0679
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The intergenerational transmission of risk and trust attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20051, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  14. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Solon, Gary, 2007. "Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 2665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature or Is It Nurture?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 611-641, June.
  17. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
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  19. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
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