Heritability in Friendship Networks
28 Pages Posted: 12 May 2021
Date Written: November 4, 2020
There is considerable evidence nowadays that friendship networks account for a large part of an individual's success or failure in life. Little, however, is known about the extent to which friendship networks are associated with an individual's genotype. Using data from the German TwinLife study, we explore, within a classical twin design, whether friendship networks are related to genes. We find a substantial heritability component in twins' network sizes and network homophily, but not in twins' network closeness. The genetic influence on network characteristics may be attributable to traits which are themselves influenced by genetic factors. Addressing indirect ways in which genes could influence network characteristics, we do not find evidence that shared hobbies or Big Five personality traits affect networks.
Keywords: social networks, twins, behavioral genetics, hobbies, Big Five
JEL Classification: D90
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation