A decade of research on the genetics of entrepreneurship: a review and view ahead

Authors: Cornelius Rietveld, Eric A.W. Slob, A. Roy Thurik,
Issue: 2021
Link to Publication (External Site)

Studies analyzing the heritability of entrepreneurship indicate that explanations for why people engage in entrepreneurship that ignore genes are incomplete. However, despite promises that were solidly backed up with ex ante power calculations, attempts to identify specific genetic variants underlying the heritable variation in entrepreneurship have until now been unsuccessful. We describe the methodological issues hampering the identification of associations between genetic variants and entrepreneurship, but we also outline why this search will eventually be successful. Nevertheless, we argue that the benefits of using these individual genetic variants for empirical research in the entrepreneurship domain are likely to be small. Instead, the use of summary indices comprising multiple genetic variants, so-called polygenic risk scores, is advocated. In doing so, we stress the caveats associated with applying population-level results to the individual level. By drawing upon the promises of “genoeconomics,” we sketch how the use of genetic information may advance the field of entrepreneurship research.