The genetics of political participation, civic duty, and political efficacy across cultures: Denmark and the United States

Robert Klemmensen, Peter K. Hatemi, Sara Binzer Hobolt, Inge Petersen, Axel Skytthe, Asbjørn S. Nørgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that variation in political attitudes and participation can be attributed to both genes and the environment. This finding raises the question of why genes matter to participation, and by which pathways. Two hypotheses suggest that feelings of civic duty and sense of political efficacy intermediate the relationship between genes and political participation and, thus, that these traits have a common heritable component. If so, how robust are the relationships across cultural contexts? Utilizing two new twin studies on political traits, one in Denmark and one in the United States, we show that the heritability of political participation and political efficacy is remarkably similar across cultures. Moreover, most of the covariation between efficacy and political participation is accounted for by a common underlying genetic component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-427
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Theoretical Politics
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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