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Nature, Nurture and Egalitarian Policy: What Can We Learn from Molecular Genetics?

  • Lundborg, Petter


    (Lund University)

  • Stenberg, Anders


    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

This brief paper draws attention to molecular genetic research which may provide a new dimension to our understanding of how socioeconomic outcomes are generated. In particular, we provide an overview of the recently emerging evidence of gene-environment interaction effects. This literature points out specific policy areas which may compensate individuals carrying genetic risks, without resorting to gene mapping of the population. Such policies would also increase intergenerational mobility if genetic and/or environmental risk factors are more common in socially disadvantaged groups.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4585.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: Economics and Human Biology, 2010, 8 (3), 320-330
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4585
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Smith, Susan Livingston & Howard, Jeanne A. & Monroe, Alan D., 2000. "Issues underlying behavior problems in at-risk adopted children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 539-562, July.
  4. Case, Anne & Lin, I-Fen & McLanahan, Sara, 2000. "How Hungry Is the Selfish Gene?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 781-804, October.
  5. James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," NBER Working Papers 13195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "The Nature and Nurture of Economic Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 344-348, May.
  7. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:1:p:119-157 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-23, November.
  9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:2:p:809-842 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development," NBER Working Papers 14695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:3:p:999-1028 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Haoming Liu & Jinli Zeng, 2009. "Genetic ability and intergenerational earnings mobility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 75-95, January.
  15. 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.
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