Environmental Bottlenecks on Children's Genetic Potential for Adult Socioeconomic Attainments: Evidence from a Health Shock

19 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Jason M. Fletcher

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Abstract

This paper explores gene-environmental interactions between family environments and children's genetic scores in determining educational attainment. The central question is whether poor childhood family environments reduce the ability for children to leverage their genetic gifts to achieve high levels of educational attainments. The multigenerational information and genetic data contained in the Health and Retirement Study is used to separate two mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status – genetic endowments and family environments.Using parental in utero exposure to the 1918/1919 influenza pandemic as a source of quasi-experimental variation to family environments (but not affecting children's genetic endowments), this paper estimates interactions between parental investments and children's genetic potential. The main finding suggests that girls with high genetic potential whose fathers were exposed to influenza face reduced educational attainments – a gene-environment interaction – but there is no similar effect for boys.

Keywords: in utero exposure, gene-environment interactions, polygenic score, intergenerational effects

JEL Classification: J62, J1, J24

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Jason M., Environmental Bottlenecks on Children's Genetic Potential for Adult Socioeconomic Attainments: Evidence from a Health Shock. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11544. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3185239

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
2
Abstract Views
70
PlumX Metrics