10/03/2007

Genes and people's economic behavior

A recent study shows genes exert influence on people's behavior in a very common experimental economic game (the so called ultimatum game, which test people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair.).

"Traditionally, social scientists have been quite hesitant to acknowledge a role for genes in explaining economic behavior. But a study by David Cesarini, a Ph.D. student in MIT's Department of Economics, and by colleagues in Sweden indicates that there is a genetic component to people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair".

Researchers found identical twins (they share the same genes) were more likely to play with the same strategy than fraternal twins. In fact, genetic influences account for as much as 40% of the people's perception of what is fair and what is unfair.

2 comments:

John said...

The ultimatum game is an interesting concept. We often are more concerned that somebody else doesn't get more than we do than we are about getting something for nothing. This shouldn't surprise us too much. We are a competitve species.

I would bet that males are more likely to reject an uneven propsals and females more likely to accept the same. I would also say that males would be more likely to offer an uneven proposal and females would offer one more balanced.

I would lke to see more numbers on this game!
It would certainly make for an interesting study.

Sicilian said...

Life. . . . . I wonder if that would explain all the fights with my brothers over Monopoly as a kid. . . . must be that genetic Sicilian thing where we all were going to win no matter what.
Ciao