Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking
David Cesarini (),
Christopher T. Dawes (),
Magnus Johannesson (),
Paul Lichtenstein () and
Björn Wallace ()
Additional contact information Christopher T. Dawes: Political Science Department, University of California, San Diego, Postal: University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive 0521, La Jolla, CA 92093-0521, USA
Paul Lichtenstein: Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Postal: Karolinska Institutet, Box 281, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Björn Wallace: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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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