The CHRNA6 Gene, Patience, and Voter Turnout
30 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 26, 2009
Political scientists have recently explored the genetic basis of political participation. Fowler, Baker & Dawes (2008) recently showed in two independent samples of twins that voter turnout is heritable and Fowler & Dawes (2008) identified two specific genes associated with turnout. Earlier work (Fowler & Kam 2006) has demonstrated a link between patience and turnout. We combine these insights by investigating two genes that are associated with patience and may explain variation in voter turnout. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we show that individuals with a version of the CHRNA6 gene are significantly less likely to have voted in the 2000 presidential election. We hypothesize that the association between the CHRNA6 gene and voting is mediated by patience.
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