NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Molecular Genetics, Risk Aversion, Return Perceptions, and Stock Market Participation

Richard Sias, Laura Starks, Harry J. Turtle

NBER Working Paper No. 27638
Issued in August 2020
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing

We show that molecular variation in DNA related to cognition, personality, health, and body shape, predicts an individual’s equity market participation and risk aversion. Moreover, the molecular genetic endowments predict individuals’ return perceptions, most of which we find to be strikingly biased. The genetic endowments also strongly associate with many of the investor characteristics (e.g., trust, sociability, wealth) shown to explain heterogeneity in equity market participation. Our analysis helps elucidate why financial choices are heritable and how genetic endowments can help explain the links between financial choices, risk aversion, beliefs, and other variables known to explain stock market participation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27638

 
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