Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Value Orientations: A New Twin Study of Political Attitudes

29 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 1 Jul 2014

Carolyn L Funk

Virginia Commonwealth University - Center for Public Policy

Kevin B. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN

John Alford

Rice University

Matthew V Hibbing

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter K. Hatemi

Penn State

Robert F. Krueger

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology

Lindon J. Eaves

Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

John R. Hibbing

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Recent analyses of twin study data find evidence for a sizeable heritable component of liberal-conservative ideological orientations. Those findings are largely based on a single index of ideological orientations, the Wilson-Patterson scale, created from attitude positions across a large number of issue-of-the-day items. The underlying assumption of these studies, particularly Alford, Funk and Hibbing (2005), is not that attitudes on specific issues are heritable, but that issue positions reflect a set of heritable core value orientations. This paper reports results from a new twin study of adults in the U.S. which allows us to directly test this assumption. The survey was funded by the National Science Foundation and included more than 1100 twins from the University of Minnesota twin registry. It is the first survey of its kind dedicated to a detailed assessment of the political attitudes and value orientations of twins and includes a new index of bedrock social orientations. Here, we test the degree to which genetic and environmental factors influence these social orientations and compare these findings with similar analyses on the Wilson-Patterson index of liberal-conservative ideological orientation, self-identified ideology, right-wing authoritarianism, and egalitarianism.

Suggested Citation

Funk, Carolyn L and Smith, Kevin B. and Alford, John and Hibbing, Matthew V and Hatemi, Peter K. and Krueger, Robert F. and Eaves, Lindon J. and Hibbing, John R., Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Value Orientations: A New Twin Study of Political Attitudes (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451310

Carolyn L Funk (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University - Center for Public Policy ( email )

Box 843061
Richmond, VA 23284-3061
United States

Kevin B. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

John Alford

Rice University ( email )

Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States
713-348-3364 (Phone)

Matthew V Hibbing

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Peter K. Hatemi

Penn State ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Robert F. Krueger

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology ( email )

Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Lindon J. Eaves

Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics ( email )

1015 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284
United States

John R. Hibbing

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Political Science ( email )

511 Oldfather Hall
P.O. Box 880328
Lincoln, NE 68588-0328
United States

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