Arginine Vasopressin 1a Receptor (AVPR1a) RS3 Repeat Polymorphism Associated with Entrepreneurship
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
David G. Rand
Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics
Harvard University - Strategy Unit
Deepak K. Malhotra
Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit
September 4, 2012
Background: Entrepreneurship is crucial to the creation and development of every industry, and considerable work in economics, psychology, management, and other fields of social science has been devoted to analyzing characteristics of these individuals. Twin studies suggest that entrepreneurship has a genetic component, but so far no specific genes have been robustly identified.
Methodology/Principal Findings: In a sample of 135 highly accomplished managers, we examine the frequencies of three genotypes: the long-repeat genotype of the RS3 microsatellite in the arginine vasopressin 1a receptor promoter region (AVPR1a), the 7-repeat genotype of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4), and the low-activity Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOA) genotype. We find that individuals who have founded more companies are significantly more likely to be homozygous for the long-repeat allele of AVPR1a. Furthermore, even among individuals who founded fewer companies, we find a higher frequency of the long-long genotype in our sample compared to data reported in outside studies not related to entrepreneurship. Conversely, no such relationship with entrepreneurship is observed for DRD4 or MAOA.
Conclusions: The genetic associations (and lack thereof) reported here identify AVPR1a and not DRD4 or MAOA as a potential candidate for future research into the genetic underpinnings of entrepreneurship. However, our results should be interpreted with caution given the sample size and the prevalence of false positives in this literature.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: behavioral genetics, entrepreneurship, innovation, human decision-makingworking papers series
Date posted: September 5, 2012
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