Friday, October 13, 2006

Twins and Turnout

Political scientists are late to the game in the use of twins to understand the genetic components of behaviour. Psychologists have been doing this for years, and biologists, of course, have been doing it for centuries (though not with humans).

But we're catching up, and this paper is a great example of using comparisons of monozygotic (identical) and dyzygotic (fraternal) twins to understand how much a behaviour is attributable to genetic characteristics and how much is due to environment. In this case, Fowler et al are interested in whether there is a genetic basis to voter turnout. Their paper is a fairly good first indication that there is. Something to think about over the weekend, if nothing else.

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