The Heritability of Trust and Trustworthiness Depends on the Measure of Trust

34 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2021

See all articles by Nathan Kettlewell

Nathan Kettlewell

University of Sydney

Agnieszka Tymula

The University of Sydney - School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 29, 2021

Abstract

Using a large sample of 1,120 twins, we estimated the heritability of trust using four distinct measures of trust – domain-specific political trust, general self-reported trust, and incentivized behavioral trust and trustworthiness. Our results highlight the importance of measuring trust in a context because its heritability differs substantially across the four measures, from 0% to 37%. Moreover, we provide the first evidence on the heritability of political trust which we estimate to be 37%. Furthermore, like the heritability, the environmental correlates of trust also vary across the different measures with political trust having the largest set of environmental covariates. The perceptions of COVID-19 health and income risks are among the unique correlates of political trust, with participants who are more worried about financial and health consequences of COVID-19, trusting politicians less, stressing the importance of trust in political leaders during a health crisis.

Keywords: trust, heritability, genetics, twin study

Suggested Citation

Kettlewell, Nathan and Tymula, Agnieszka, The Heritability of Trust and Trustworthiness Depends on the Measure of Trust (September 29, 2021). Life Course Centre Working Paper No. 2021-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3932677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3932677

Nathan Kettlewell (Contact Author)

University of Sydney ( email )

Rm 370 Merewether (H04)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006 2008
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/economics/staff/profiles/nathan.kettlewell.php

Agnieszka Tymula

The University of Sydney - School of Economics ( email )

Social Sciences Building
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006 2006
Australia

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