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Heritability of time preference: Evidence from German twin data

Philipp Huebler ()
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Philipp Huebler: University of Augsburg, Department of Economics, https://www.wiwi.uni-augsburg.de/vwl/nuscheler/team/huebler/

No 334, Discussion Paper Series from Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics

Abstract: Intergenerational correlations of time preference are well documented. However, there is still limited empirical evidence about the role of genetics in this transmission process. In our paper, we use data on roughly 3,000 twins from the German TwinLife project to estimate the heritability of time preference. We rely on an experimentally validated survey measure of temporal discounting, namely, self-assessed patience. The analysis of monozygotic and dizygotic twins enables us to apply standard biometric models. We find that genetic differences explain up to 23 percent of individual variation in patience. Whereas the additive genetic effect and common environmental effects are of minor importance, a major dominant genetic effect is present. These results indicate a notable degree of genetic influence on economic time preferences.

Keywords: twin study; genetics; heritability; patience; time preference (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D90 J10 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur
Date: 2017-03
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:aug:augsbe:0334

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