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Heritability in Political Interest and Efficacy across Cultures: Denmark and the United States

  • Robert Klemmensen (a1), Peter K. Hatemi (a2), Sara B. Hobolt (a1) (a3), Axel Skytthe (a4) and Asbjørn S. Nørgaard (a1)...

Abstract

Interest in politics is important for a host of political behaviors and beliefs. Yet little is known about where political interest comes from. Most studies exploring the source of political interest focus on parental influences, economic status, and opportunity. Here, we investigate an alternative source: genetic transmission. Using two twin samples, one drawn from Denmark and the other from USA, we find that there is a high degree of heritability in political interest. Furthermore, we show that interest in politics and political efficacy share the same underlying, latent genetic factor. These findings add to the growing body of literature that documents political behaviors and attitudes as not simply the result of socialization, but also as part of an individual's genetically informed disposition.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for Correspondence: Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard, Department of Political Science, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark. Email: ano@sam.sdu.dk

Keywords

Heritability in Political Interest and Efficacy across Cultures: Denmark and the United States

  • Robert Klemmensen (a1), Peter K. Hatemi (a2), Sara B. Hobolt (a1) (a3), Axel Skytthe (a4) and Asbjørn S. Nørgaard (a1)...

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