The genetic architecture of economic and political preferences

Benjamin, Daniel J., Cesarini, David, van der Loos, Matthijs, Dawes, Christopher T., Koellinger, Philipp d., Magnusson, Patrik K. E., Chabris, Christopher F., Conley, Dalton, Laibson, David, Johannesson, Magnus and Visscher, Peter M. (2012) The genetic architecture of economic and political preferences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 21: 8026-8031. doi:10.1073/pnas.1120666109

Author Benjamin, Daniel J.
Cesarini, David
van der Loos, Matthijs
Dawes, Christopher T.
Koellinger, Philipp d.
Magnusson, Patrik K. E.
Chabris, Christopher F.
Conley, Dalton
Laibson, David
Johannesson, Magnus
Visscher, Peter M.
Title The genetic architecture of economic and political preferences
Journal name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication date 2012-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1120666109
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 109
Issue 21
Start page 8026
End page 8031
Total pages 6
Editor Eric S. Lander
Place of publication Washington DC, United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Preferences are fundamental building blocks in all models of economic and political behavior. We study a new sample of comprehensively genotyped subjects with data on economic and political preferences and educational attainment. We use dense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data to estimate the proportion of variation in these traits explained by common SNPs and to conduct genome-wide association study (GWAS) and prediction analyses. The pattern of results is consistent with findings for other complex traits. First, the estimated fraction of phenotypic variation that could, in principle, be explained by dense SNP arrays is around one-half of the narrow heritability estimated using twin and family samples. The molecular-genetic-based heritability estimates, therefore, partially corroborate evidence of significant heritability from behavior genetic studies. Second, our analyses suggest that these traits have a polygenic architecture, with the heritable variation explained by many genes with small effects. Our results suggest that most published genetic association studies with economic and political traits are dramatically underpowered, which implies a high false discovery rate. These results convey a cautionary message for whether, how, and how soon molecular genetic data can contribute to, and potentially transform, research in social science. We propose some constructive responses to the inferential challenges posed by the small explanatory power of individual SNPs.
Keyword Genoeconomics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
UQ Diamantina Institute Publications
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