Learning and labor will not give money: scientists say that income depends on genes

Learning and labor will not give money: scientists say that income depends on genes
Learning and labor will not give money: scientists say that income depends on genes
5 September, 13:47Photo: Соцсети
In their work in recent years, researchers are increasingly convincingly proving that wealth has a genetic predisposition.

Economist Dmitry Prokofiev asked in his channel the question: does wealth depend on the genetics of the predisposition of its carrier? In this regard, he remembered the famous Soviet film of the era of Perestroika "Courier" directed by Karen Shakhnazarov. There, the protagonist meets the professor's daughter (moreover, not an "ordinary professor", but a demonstratively successful, "star"), and begins to admire her appearance. “And this is from my mother, she also has long legs", - the girl says.

What's interesting here?

It turns out that back in 2004, psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa (London School of Economics), published an article (Why beautiful people are smarter).

The logic of Kanazawa's reasoning was as follows:

  1. smarter men are more likely to achieve higher status;
  2. men of higher status are more likely to possess more beautiful women;
  3. intelligence is inherited;
  4. beauty is inherited.

“If these 4 assumptions are correct, then the statement that beautiful people are more intelligent turns out to be logically true,” Prokofiev summarizes and goes further, citing other evidence for this theory.

For example, in 1976, the famous study “The Determinants of Earnings: Genetics, Family, and Other Environments; A Study of White Male Twins" (English: "Factors that determine high incomes: genetics, family and other conditions; a study of white male twins"), in which Paul Taubman , professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania, analyzed data on the "path to success" of twins showed that hereditary factors affect income throughout life. The point here, according to scientists, is the intellectual abilities and propensity for education, which are inherited genetically. You study more and better - you earn more throughout your life than those who are genetically unlucky with education and talents.

Later, in 2016, these conclusions were indirectly confirmed by American biologists who studied the data of 300,000 people and found 74 DNA sections associated with cognitive abilities. This allowed them to conclude that 20% of the difference in the level of education of people is explained by genetics.

And in a 2018 study, biologists, geneticists, economists, psychologists and sociologists studied data from a million Americans and concluded that the “quality” of 10 X chromosome genes responsible for the connections between neurons explains 7-10% of the difference in cognitive abilities and 11–13% difference in educational attainment. That is, genes win.

True, American economists Henrik Kronquist and Stefan Siegel , according to the results of their study, argued that genetic differences explain up to 45% of the difference in investor behavior. And the point is not that "correct genetics" allows you to find the possibility of some super-profitable investments, but that "genetics" allows you to avoid investment mistakes.

Disappointing conclusions, to be sure. Not only is a person’s efforts of no use if he is unlucky with his parents, but also supporting the poor with the help of various programs and motivations seems to be completely meaningless if you were not born smart.

However, the Norwegian economist Andreas Fagereng , in his study “Why do rich parents have rich children?” comforts the unfortunate. It turns out that Korean children adopted and raised in Norwegian families turned out to be quite successful, and the size of their success depended on the moral and material efforts of their adoptive parents. That is, the genes retreated before labor.

However, economist Daniel Barth and his co-authors, in the most recent study from 2022, studied the genetic material of 18,000 people and compared it with data on their career and income. The conclusion is disappointing: even if two people with different innate learning abilities receive the same education, the lifetime income of the one with the better “educational genes” is higher.

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