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Genetic Fortune: Winning or Losing Education, Income, and Health

Author

Listed:
  • Hyeokmoon Kweon

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Casper A.P. Burik

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Richard Karlsson Linner

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Ronald de Vlaming

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Aysu Okbay

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Daphne Martschenko

    (Stanford University)

  • Kathryn Paige Harden

    (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Thomas A. DiPrete

    (Columbia University)

  • Philipp D. Koellinger

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract

We develop a polygenic index for individual income and examine random differences in this index with lifetime outcomes in a sample of ~35,000 biological siblings. We find that genetic fortune for higher income causes greater socio-economic status and better health, partly via intervenable environmental pathways such as education. The positive returns to schooling remain substantial even after controlling for now observable genetic confounds. Our findings illustrate that inequalities in education, income, and health are partly due the outcomes of a genetic lottery. However, the consequences of different genetic endowments are malleable, for example via policies that target education.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyeokmoon Kweon & Casper A.P. Burik & Richard Karlsson Linner & Ronald de Vlaming & Aysu Okbay & Daphne Martschenko & Kathryn Paige Harden & Thomas A. DiPrete & Philipp D. Koellinger, 2020. "Genetic Fortune: Winning or Losing Education, Income, and Health," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 20-053/V, Tinbergen Institute, revised 01 Dec 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20200053
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    3. Silvia H. Barcellos & Leandro Carvalho & Patrick Turley, 2021. "The Effect of Education on the Relationship between Genetics, Early-Life Disadvantages, and Later-Life SES," NBER Working Papers 28750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income; education; health; inequality; heritability; genetics; polygenic index;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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