Arginine Vasopressin 1a Receptor (AVPR1a) RS3 Repeat Polymorphism Associated with Entrepreneurship

16 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012

See all articles by Nils Wernerfelt

Nils Wernerfelt

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Cynthia Montgomery

Harvard University - Strategy Unit

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Date Written: September 4, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: behavioral genetics, entrepreneurship, innovation, human decision-making

Suggested Citation

Wernerfelt, Nils and Rand, David G. and Dreber, Anna and Montgomery, Cynthia and Malhotra, Deepak K., Arginine Vasopressin 1a Receptor (AVPR1a) RS3 Repeat Polymorphism Associated with Entrepreneurship (September 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2141598 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2141598

Nils Wernerfelt

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David G. Rand (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Cynthia Montgomery

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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