Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 679:
Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking

Cesarini David (), Christopher T. Dawes (), Magnus Johannesson (), Paul Lichtenstein () and Björn Wallace ()

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Genetics; Altruism; Risk Aversion; Preferences; Experiments; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C90; D01; D64; (follow links to similar papers)

39 pages, November 22, 2007, Revised January 12, 2009

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This paper is forthcoming as:
David, Cesarini, Christopher T. Dawes, Magnus Johannesson, Paul Lichtenstein and Björn Wallace, 'Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking', Quarterly Journal of Economics.

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