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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1032632
 
 

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Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout


James H. Fowler


UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine

Christopher T. Dawes


University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

December 1, 2007

Journal of Politics, Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 579-594, July 2008

Abstract:     
Fowler, Baker, and Dawes (2008) recently showed in two independent studies of twins that voter turnout has very high heritability. Here we investigate two specific genes that may contribute to this heritability via their impact on neurochemical processes that influence social behavior. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we show that a polymorphism of the MAOA gene significantly increases the likelihood of voting. We also find evidence of a gene-environment interaction between religious attendance and a polymorphism of the 5HTT gene that significantly increases voter turnout. These are the first results to ever link specific genes to political behavior and they suggest that political scientists should take seriously the claim that at least some variation in political behavior is due to innate predispositions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: genes, turnout, political participation, MAOA, 5HTT, seratonin

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Date posted: November 27, 2007 ; Last revised: August 7, 2008

Suggested Citation

Fowler, James H. and Dawes, Christopher T., Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout (December 1, 2007). Journal of Politics, Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 579-594, July 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1032632 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1032632

Contact Information

James H. Fowler (Contact Author)
UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States
HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu
UC San Diego School of Medicine ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States
HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu
Christopher T. Dawes
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States
HOME PAGE: http://dss.ucsd.edu/~cdawes/
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