Genetic diversity is good for the economy!

High School Genetic Diversity and Later-life Student Outcomes: Micro-level Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
by C. Justin Cook, Jason M. Fletcher – #23520 (EFG LS)


A novel hypothesis posits that levels of genetic diversity in a population may partially explain variation in the development and success of countries. Our paper extends evidence on this novel question by subjecting the hypothesis to an alternative context that eliminates many alternative hypotheses by aggregating representative data to the high school level from a single state (Wisconsin) in 1957, when the population was composed nearly entirely of individuals of European ancestry. Using this sample of high school aggregations, we too find a strong effect of genetic diversity on socioeconomic outcomes. Additionally, we check an existing mechanism and propose a new potential mechanism of the results for innovation: personality traits associated with creativity and divergent thinking.

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3 Responses to Genetic diversity is good for the economy!

  1. conrad says:

    “Given the role of both openness and extraversion in creativity and divergent thinking, Panel C regresses the shared variation (i.e., the first principal component) between these two personality measures on our measure of high school genetic diversity. Again, a statistically significant effect is seen for all specifications, providing evidence for individual increases in creativity and divergent thinking from greater exposure to more diverse individuals.”

    The implicit claim here is that differences in personality variables are related to genetics, and these are then related to personality. These genetic difference then causes differences in the overall level of extraversion and openess across populations. These differences caused by differences are then related to the “development and success of countries.”

    I must admit I’m a skeptic here.

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