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

Hyeokmoon Kweon, Casper A.P. Burik, Richard Karlsson Linner, Ronald de Vlaming, Aysu Okbay, Daphne Martschenko, Kathryn Paige Harden, Thomas A. DiPrete and Philipp Koellinger
Additional contact information
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

No 20-053/V, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

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.

Keywords: Income; education; health; inequality; heritability; genetics; polygenic index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I20 J00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-08-27, Revised 2020-12-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-lab
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