GEIGHEI Publications

The Economics and Econometrics of Gene-Environment Interplay

Economists and social scientists have debated the relative importance of nature (one’s genes) and nurture (one’s environment) for decades, if not centuries. This debate can now be informed by the ready availability of genetic data in a growing number of social science datasets. This paper explores the potential uses of genetic data in economics, with … Read more

Genetic advantage and equality of opportunity in education: Two definitions, and an empirical application

Authors: Rita Dias Pereira,
Issue: 2022
Themes: ,

Research on equality of opportunity has long acknowledged that genetic factors play a role in determining our level of success. But if we want to measure equality of opportunity, should we treat innate advantages as fair or unfair? And how would each of these two different perspectives affect researchers’ outcomes when they try to measure … Read more

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

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 … Read more

The Effect of Education on Health and Mortality: A Review of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence

Education is strongly associated with better health and longer lives. However, the extent to which education causes health and longevity is widely debated. We develop a human capital framework to structure the interpretation of the empirical evidence and review evidence on the causal effects of education on mortality and its two most common preventable causes: … Read more

Stop Meta-Analyzing, Start Instrumenting: Maximizing the Predictive Power of Polygenic Scores

Polygenic scores have become the workhorse for empirical analyses in social-science genetics. Because a polygenic score is constructed using the results of finite-sample Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWASs), it is a noisy approximation of the true latent genetic predisposition to a certain trait. The conventional way of boosting the predictive power of polygenic scores is to … Read more

Investigating the genetic architecture of noncognitive skills using GWAS-by-subtraction

Little is known about the genetic architecture of traits affecting educational attainment other than cognitive ability. We used genomic structural equation modeling and prior genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of educational attainment (n = 1,131,881) and cognitive test performance (n = 257,841) to estimate SNP associations with educational attainment variation that is independent of cognitive ability. … Read more

Dynamic complementarity in skill production: Evidence from genetic endowments and birth order

This study looks at how nature and nurture interact in influencing individuals academic attainment, and finds support for the theory that early life parental inputs increase later gains – especially in those children who have genetic advantages. The researchers used data on a sample of 15,000 siblings, whose genetic and demographic information is stored in … Read more

The Interplay between Maternal Smoking and Genes in Offspring Birth Weight

This paper looks at the relationships between genes, smoking, and birth weight. It finds that each additional daily cigarette smoked during pregnancy reduces birthweight by between 20 and 40 grams, regardless of the childs’s genetic predisposition. The researchers used information from a sample of 5000 mother-baby pairs in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and … Read more

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Earnings in Later-Life Self-Employment

It has been suggested that individuals with ADHD are likely to go into self-employment, where a flair for entrepreneurship may improve their prospects. But this study suggests the choice of self-employment may not always be a positive one for those with this condition. This paper asks two questions: Are those with a genetic predisposition to … Read more

ADHD and later-life labor market outcomes in the United States

Authors: Cornelius Rietveld, Pankaj Patel,
Issue: 2019
Themes: ,

People at genetic risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) suffer negative effects on their employment, individual income and household wealth. But these can probably be mitigated by higher educational attainment, this paper finds. The researchers looked at a sample of approximately 9,000 individuals aged 50-65 who took part in the American Health and Retirement … Read more