NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Kevin Thom

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2018Genes, Education, and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study
with Nicholas W. Papageorge: w25114
Recent advances have led to the discovery of specific genetic variants that predict educational attainment. We study how these variants, summarized as a linear index — known as a polygenic score — are associated with human capital accumulation and labor market outcomes in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We present two main sets of results. First, we find evidence that the genetic factors measured by this score interact strongly with childhood socioeconomic status in determining educational outcomes. In particular, while the polygenic score predicts higher rates of college graduation on average, this relationship is substantially stronger for individuals who grew up in households with higher socioeconomic status relative to those who grew up in poorer households. Second, the polygeni...
May 2018Genetic Endowments and Wealth Inequality
with Daniel Barth, Nicholas W. Papageorge: w24642
We show that genetic endowments linked to educational attainment strongly and robustly predict wealth at retirement. The estimated relationship is not fully explained by flexibly controlling for education and labor income. We therefore investigate a host of additional mechanisms that could help to explain the gene-wealth gradient, including inheritances, mortality, savings, risk preferences, portfolio decisions, beliefs about the probabilities of macroeconomic events, and planning horizons. The associations we report provide preliminary evidence that genetic endowments related to human capital accumulation are associated with wealth not only through educational attainment and labor income, but also through a facility with complex financial decision-making. Our study illustrates how econo...
 
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