Genetic Influence on Intergenerational Educational Attainment

Ziada Ayorech, Eva Krapohl, Robert Plomin, Sophie von Stumm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using twin (6,105 twin pairs) and genomic (5,825 unrelated individuals taken from the twin sample) analyses, we tested for genetic influences on the parent-offspring correspondence in educational attainment. Genetics accounted for nearly half of the variance in intergenerational educational attainment. A genomewide polygenic score (GPS) for years of education was also associated with intergenerational educational attainment: The highest and lowest GPS means were found for offspring in stably educated families (i.e., who had taken A Levels and had a university-educated parent; M = 0.43, SD = 0.97) and stably uneducated families (i.e., who had not taken A Levels and had no university-educated parent; M = −0.19, SD = 0.97). The average GPSs fell in between for children who were upwardly mobile (i.e., who had taken A Levels but had no university-educated parent; M = 0.05, SD = 0.96) and children who were downwardly mobile (i.e., who had not taken A Levels but had a university-educated parent; M = 0.28, SD = 1.03). Genetic influences on intergenerational educational attainment can be viewed as an index of equality of educational opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1310
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume28
Issue number9
Early online date17 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2017.

Keywords

  • behavioral genetics
  • intergenerational educational attainment
  • polygenic score
  • twin studies

Cite this