The Genetic and Environmental Influences on Social Mobility
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Center for Advanced Study
Levis Faculty Center--Music Room (208)
919 W. Illinois, Urbana (View Map)
The economic and sociology literature has shown strong persistence in wealth, income, and education across generations and over one’s lifetime, leading to social immobility. In this study, the roles of genes, environments, and their interactions will be explored in order to explain social mobility, using twins and siblings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Preliminary results suggest that the relative importance of genetic influences and environmental influences on social mobility varies for different socioeconomic status (SES) measures, and the mechanisms differ between inter- and intra-generational mobility. In particular, genetic influences explain 40-70% of variations in education, household income, and personal earnings but not the variation in occupation. The genetic influences on household income and personal earnings decline as young adults grow. The genetic effect is the highest for young adults who have grown up in high SES families. The findings are expected to inform the mix of policy interventions that are effective in enhancing social mobility.