Genetic Distance and Intra-National Variation in Preferences and Behaviour

41 Pages Posted: 28 May 2019

See all articles by Yu Qin

Yu Qin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate

Jianqing Ruan

China Academy for Rural Development, Zhejiang University

Ling Wang

China Academy for Rural Development, Zhejiang University

Jubo Yan

Nanyang Technological University - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: May 1, 2019

Abstract

Researchers have discovered systematic cross-regional differences in many fundamental preferences and behaviour. The large heterogeneity in preferences exists not only cross-countries, but also within countries. This paper explores the ancient origins of the intra-national variation in preferences and behaviour. Taking China as an example, we examine the relationship between genetic distance and variation in preferences and behaviour using data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS). We focus on three categories of representative and fundamental preferences — risk, time, and social preferences — as well as related behaviour. We find that genetic distance explains the differences in risk, time and social preferences after we control for potential confounding factors. Genetic distance also explains differences in related behaviour, including differences in entrepreneurship, risk-taking behaviour, saving behaviour, cooperative behaviour and prosocial behaviour. In general, genetic distance accounts for 2%-30% of the standard deviation of differences in preferences and behaviour. While genetic distance shapes variation in all preferences and behaviour, the effect is the strongest for social preferences and related behaviour.

Keywords: genetic distance, preference, behaviour, within-country analysis

JEL Classification: D01 ,D03, Z13

Suggested Citation

Qin, Yu and Ruan, Jianqing and Wang, Ling and Yan, Jubo, Genetic Distance and Intra-National Variation in Preferences and Behaviour (May 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3380953 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3380953

Yu Qin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate ( email )

4 Architecture Drive
Singapore 117566
Singapore

Jianqing Ruan

China Academy for Rural Development, Zhejiang University ( email )

Yuhangtang Road 866
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058
China

Ling Wang (Contact Author)

China Academy for Rural Development, Zhejiang University ( email )

Qizhen Building, Zijingang Campus,ZJU
Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058
China

Jubo Yan

Nanyang Technological University - School of Social Sciences ( email )

HSS 04-68, 14 Nanyang Drive
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://juboyan.weebly.com

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