Heritability of lifetime earnings

Using twenty years of earnings data on Finnish twins, we find that about 40% of the variance of women’s and little more than half of men’s lifetime labour earnings are linked to genetic factors. The contribution of the shared environment is negligible. We show that the result is robust to using alternative definitions of earnings, to adjusting for the role of education, and to measurement errors in the measure of genetic relatedness.

That is from a newly published paper by Ari Hyytinen, Pekka Ilmakunnas, Edvard Johansson, and Otto Toivanen.


It's all in the genes. It's why China in non-China parts of Asia are successful, why Indians in Africa are successful and why Jews in the West and Middle East are so successful. All of these groups are also resented in lands where they've found their success. If White Nationalists have made you their number one target, take it as a sign that you've made it in this world and let the resentful poison themselves in their own envy and self-pity.

Good point.

also good spellers

It's already an embarrassment how South Asians dominate the Scripps Spelling Bee. Instead of making the contest harder, they need to make it more inclusive. It's time they scored the spellers holistically and take into account each speller's personality. They should also score each speller on the adversity they had to overcome. Spellers with greater adversity should have easier words to spell. I look forward to the day when an under represented minority wins the Bee with a correct spelling of "the".

good point!

> a correct spelling of "the"

That's too hard. Try "I".

White/Europeans are a highly successful genetic group too though. But don't let that stop you from parading your righteousness.

Obviously it's not all in the genes. China in 1500 was the premier power in the world, but by the mid-20th century, they were among the poorest people in the world, having spent a couple centuries getting pushed around by second-rate powers even, culminating in an astonishing act of self-immolation under Mao.

What's the genetic explanation for that?

Chang cleverly pointed out that the Chinese are successful in NON-China parts of Asian and South Asians successful in Africa. In these cases, the Chinese and South Asians are minorities and represent a diversity factor. It is the diversity that makes them successful, not genetics. That's why the US and the West have a more successful model where diversity trumps other considerations of "merit". Diversity is measurable, and merit is just subjective.

For world power, having the right genes is less important. Use of force and cunning is much more important. The old Chinese dynasties never lacked of cunning but force, particularly military strength, was a problem throughout their history. When you don't have a military counter to Steppe horsemen or British gunboats, expect your political order to fall.

China under the Qing, before long term instability of political order, wasn't particularly dynamic in terms of science, philosophy, income per head, any of it. It's not like they were a modernizing economy at the weak of world sophistication, then lost it all to military ruin against an invading power.

Even Edo Japan was doing better - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014498317300992

Lower GDP per capita than India under fractious dissolution under the Mughals, per Maddison Project 2018 - https://tinyurl.com/yxduuf6b.

Even in total population size, China experienced frequent swings of agrarian boom followed by population bust than any other nation, and successes in population growth held the seeds of later stagnation.

Maybe they had "good genes" but "bad institutions" that constrained them to create a poor, unproductive, uncreative, agrarian society.

However if so this should make us less confident of arguments that "good genes" determine "good institutions" (like Garrett Jones lame "IQ=effective cooperation" argument).

This is rubbish.

They check for studies, but of course they can't check for the most fundamental influencing factor: family.

They can't check for that as they'd need twins separated at birth and raised by sets of different parents, which is exceedingly rare. Or they should check the outcomes of twins and other siblings within same family and see whether there is a statistical significance (altho age and year of entry in the job market can have a deep influence), which they didn't.

But who would doubt that twins raised in the same family, with the same socio-economic background, roughly same values transferred, same cultural amd economic aids and same year of entry in the job market will have roughly the same outcome?

I recommend reading the wikipedia article on twin studies. You don't need twins separated at birth to study the effects of families, you can simply utilize the difference between monozygotic and dizygotic twins to infer it.

When I read the study, that seems to rely on strong functional form assumptions.

Essentially, you assume that the slope coefficient of your income on your twin's income should be

Family + 0.5 *genetics if DZ
Family + genetics if MZ

Thus if

MZ slope - DZ slope > DZ slope,

then you assume that family has to be zero.

Well, maybe, but I'm not willing to stake my kid's future on that functional form assumption, especially since there are more direct evidence for treatment playing a role, for example in finding positive birth order effects.


If genes are the primary determinant of earnings, then how can 70% of the private returns to education be attributed to education and only 30% to signaling (according to the preceding blog post)? I suppose one could reconcile the two findings if the primary determinant of education is genes.

Here's a head-scratcher: many people tend to favor genes as the explanation for differences among individuals, yet those same people seem hell-bent on dictating the environment (via the culture wars) in which individuals develop. Here's a reality check from Austan Goolsbee: "[I]f you’re an investor counting on wage cuts and robots to carry Uber and Lyft to profit nirvana, you may want to buy a certain bridge first." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/business/passengers-drivers-pay-uber-lyft.html

I never, not in my (frequent) wildest ravings, thought I would agree with Austan Goolsbee.

It's early. You haven't hit the "Orange Man Bad" note.

It's not to early for you to stake "Orange Man bad" as your (very weak) defensive position.

FYI - On FOXNEWS, Donna Brazile just said, "Hillary ain't president because the Russians attacked our system."

Admittedly, I am among the weakest of political bloviaters. So, here I let AG Barr have at it, "I’m amused by people who make a living disclosing classified information including the names of intelligence operative wringing their hands about whether I can handle classified information…"

The Russia fabrication/frame job/coup d'état started as a reaction to Hillary losing.

This week, Mueller seriously needed to protect his BFF's and divert attention from Barr's going after deep state criminals (the end justifies the ,means) that feloniously deployed black ops against, and spied on, the Trump campaign.

This ain't the Soviet Union, after all.

You just can't quit her, can you hun?

Hillary Hillary, AOC Hillary Pelosi. The Warden Hillary Hillary The Warden? Ammo Hillary Pelosi, Ammo Ammo The Warden Hillary! Hillary, The Warden Pelosi AOC AOC. Hillary...


The madness of Hillary Derangement syndrome on full effect, kids. This is what happens to your brain on Fox News. Any questions?

"how can 70% of the private returns to education be attributed to education and only 30% to signaling"

Returns to education can be only a small percentage of determinant of earnings.

is that the same austan goolsbee university of chicago/obama economist who just last night said there was " problem"
on the southern border but its not an emergency/crisis
&at then he said there were only 6 million illegal aliens in the u.s.?

"we find that ... [a] little more than half of men’s lifetime labour earnings are linked to genetic factors. The contribution of the shared environment is negligible." So what's the other half? Luck and the unmeasurable?

Yes. Luck, and the resulting path dependency, matter.

And in a world where luck matters, we can't treat all outcomes as just desserts.

Obama, "And, then I said, 'You didn't build that.'"

It's funny how people respond to that.

Do they think living in a safe community with good schools was their foresight at age 4? Do they think less fortunate 4 year olds are just bad planners?

Yes. I think they are cucks!

somebody needs to take a closer look
at some of the silly sociologists & new york times
postmodern dopamine narratives
because they are getting pretty reductive.
sorta like their cortisol narratives

Curious, given claims of higher Finnish income mobility - https://tinyurl.com/y5rme7uw (presentation from http://www.oecd.org/social/broken-elevator-how-to-promote-social-mobility-9789264301085-en.htm)?

T doubt they would fine environment was negligible if one of the twins grew up in a country where the environment was really different, like India, Japan, Mexico etc

LOLOLOL https://slate.com/business/2019/05/amazon-new-york-city-office-space.html

u shud be on the view
because it is the stupidest show on television

LOL you stupid cucks are all in love with Tyler and want to suck his dick but it's all just a big tease for you cucks in the end.

DSM-5 301.20 ?

There's some truth to this study. I was listening to an investment podcast the other day that made the point bond manager king Bill Gross (who once slept in his car before me made it) had 'tailwinds' to help him become a bond billionaire since interest rates fell from the late 1970s, when he started, until now, however, the narrator, Ben Carlson (a youngster but sound in his logic; not sure about his eccentric sidekick, another 30-something) pointed out there were a lot of bond managers around in the late 1970s, and they all had falling interest rates, but only one Bill Gross was produced. So you have to seize the moment, given your environment. That said, environment plays a role in how successful you are, given your temperament / genes; with interest rates near zero, not too many opportunities to become a bond bull now. Unless you think perhaps Gross simply got lucky, which may be improbable with Gaussian statistics.

Bonus trivia: reading Lord Conrad Black's book "A Matter of Principle", (2013). Black was unjustly imprisoned for 7 years for failing to get a board of directors to ratify a routine non-compete payment (they later did, but DOJ's IL prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who also IMO unjustly prosecuted former IL governor Rod R. Blagojevich for routine "log-rolling" quid-pro-quo talk of the kind pols do, got Black for a Martha Stewart type 'obstruction of justice' charge, Fitzgerald later married for the first time in his late 40s and had two biological kids; a simple fine or civil cause of action would have been sufficient, the 'probe' was headed by a former SEC chairman who spent $200 M (sic! million!) on conducting it, a clear legal gravy train), Lord Black being a friend of Trump, was recently, correctly, pardoned, and who is fine historian, likes to "tell all" in this book, being very candid about all people he meets, I particularly like his description of famous people like Kissinger (who Black correctly points out his courage, intelligence but also Kissinger's opportunism and overall contempt of people, using them until it's time to move on). Recommended, though Black's prose is rather turgid by American standards and he uses fancy words and allusions to history that some may not like.

"Unless you think perhaps Gross simply got lucky, which may be improbable with Gaussian statistics." Gauss assures you that someone will be lucky: maybe the fickle finger of fate happened to point to Gross.

"Black's prose is rather turgid by American standards": my God, it must be really turgid.

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