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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

HeritabilityAndSons





Some professions seem highly heritable.  Think of the number of famous writers and actors whose parents did the same thing.  Though less publicly obvious, engineering is a highly heritable profession too.  (Anecdotally, I am an engineer and my father was an engineer, as was my maternal grandfather.)

And yet, no one seems (i.e. I did one Google search...)  to have studied this.  There are - literally - gigabytes of public records in the form of marriage certificates in the like that simultaneously record the jobs of both parents and their children, so it ought to be straightforward to rank professions by their heritability.  There would probably be a bias towards father/son relationships that would mirror the inequity in job opportunities in past ages (and today...), but it ought to be reasonably straightforward to control for that in such a large statistical sample.

A ranking of professions by heritability would serve as  rich basis for all those entertaining nature/nurture arguments about human characteristics, as well as for some serious genetic and developmental studies...

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