ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

Nature and Nurture: Evidence from Molecular Genetics Data in Adoptees

Friday, September 4, 2020 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Zoom Meeting

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2020 semester will feature:

Jonathan Beauchamp

George Mason University

Nature and Nurture: Evidence from Molecular Genetics Data in Adoptees 


Please contact ICES Office Manager ( for Zoom link.



In a sample of Korean adoptees who have been quasi-randomly assigned to their adoptive families, we construct polygenic indices (PGIs) that use the adoptees' genotypes to predict various adoptee outcomes, including educational attainment, BMI, height, and cognitive and noncognitive skills. We examine the influence of the PGIs on the adoptee outcomes and compare it to that of family SES and other family environmental variables. We also investigate whether and how genes and family environment interact and whether they are complements or substitutes in the human capital production function. We find that both genes and family environment matter for most traits and that they may be substitutes in the production function of cognitive skills. We explore and discuss the implications of these results for intergenerational mobility and for models of human capital formation.


For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.