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The Heritability of Partisan Attachment

Political Research Quarterly, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2008 Last revised: 26 Sep 2008

Jaime Settle

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

Christopher T. Dawes

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

James H. Fowler

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

Date Written: April 5, 2008

Abstract

One of the strongest regularities in the empirical political science literature is the well-known correlation in parent and child partisan behavior. Until recently this phenomenon was thought to result solely from parental socialization, but new evidence on genetic sources of behavior suggests it might also be due to heritability. In this article we hypothesize that genes contribute to variation in a general tendency toward strength of partisanship. Using data collected at the Twins Days Festival, we compare the similarity of partisan strength in identical twins who share all of their genes to the similarity of partisan strength in non-identical twins who share only half of their genes. The results show that heritability accounts for almost half of the variance in strength of partisan attachment, and they suggest that we should pay closer attention to the role of biology in the expression of important political behaviors.

Suggested Citation

Settle, Jaime and Dawes, Christopher T. and Fowler, James H., The Heritability of Partisan Attachment (April 5, 2008). Political Research Quarterly, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1142622

Jaime Settle (Contact Author)

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

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

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/

James H. Fowler

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

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