Genetic and Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps in Elementary School

42 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2022

See all articles by Mikkel Houmark

Mikkel Houmark

Aarhus University

Victor Ronda

Aarhus University

Esben Agerbo

Aarhus University

Preben Mortensen

Aarhus University

Michael Rosholm

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Amternes og Kommunernes Forskningsinstitut (AKF)

Abstract

Socioeconomic (SES) gaps in academic achievement are well documented. We show that a very similar gap exists with respect to genetic differences measured by a polygenic score (PGS) for educational attainment. The genetic gap increases during elementary school, but only among the low SES children. Consequently, the high PGS children experience the largest achievement growth over the school years, even if they are born in socioeconomic disadvantage. While the SES gaps are partly due to selection into different environments, the high PGS children are simply better at extracting resources from a given environment because of higher conscientiousness and other predispositions.

Note:
Funding Information: Funding for this project was provided by TrygFonden (through TrygFondens Centre for Child Research).

Conflict of Interests: None.

Keywords: child development, academic achievement, genetics, ses gaps, elementary schools, public investments, iPSYCH

JEL Classification: D10, I24, I26, J24

Suggested Citation

Houmark, Mikkel and Ronda, Victor and Agerbo, Esben and Mortensen, Preben and Rosholm, Michael, Genetic and Socioeconomic Achievement Gaps in Elementary School. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15418, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4158731 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4158731

Mikkel Houmark (Contact Author)

Aarhus University

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Victor Ronda

Aarhus University ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Esben Agerbo

Aarhus University ( email )

Preben Mortensen

Aarhus University ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Michael Rosholm

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business Economics ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V
Denmark
+45 89 42 15 59 (Phone)
+45 86 13 63 34 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Amternes og Kommunernes Forskningsinstitut (AKF)

Nyropsgade 37
Copenhagen, DK-1602
Denmark

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