nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2009‒08‒02
one paper chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. IQ and Family Background: Are Associations Strong or Weak? By Björklund, Anders; Hederos Eriksson, Karin; Jäntti, Markus

  1. By: Björklund, Anders (SOFI, Stockholm University); Hederos Eriksson, Karin (SOFI, Stockholm University); Jäntti, Markus (Abo Academy of Finland)
    Abstract: For the purpose of understanding the underlying mechanisms behind intergenerational associations in income and education, recent studies have explored the intergenerational transmission of abilities. We use a large representative sample of Swedish men to examine both intergenerational and sibling correlations in IQ. Since siblings share both parental factors and neighbourhood influences, the sibling correlation is a broader measure of the importance of family background than the intergenerational correlation. We use IQ data from the Swedish military enlistment tests. The correlation in IQ between fathers (born 1951-1956) and sons (born 1966-1980) is estimated to 0.347. The corresponding estimate for brothers (born 1951-1968) is 0.473, suggesting that family background explains approximately 50% of a person's IQ. Estimating sibling correlations in IQ we thus find that family background has a substantially larger impact on IQ than has been indicated by previous studies examining only intergenerational correlations in IQ.
    Keywords: ability, intergenerational mobility, family background
    JEL: J0 I0 J1
    Date: 2009–07

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