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This article analyzes the contribution of genetics and the environment to educational attainment, occupational status, and income using data from over 1,100 monozygotic and 400 dizygotic Australian twin pairs aged from 18 to 99. The respective heritability estimates were 0.54, 0.37, and 0.18. The bivariate heritabilities were 0.71 for educational attainment and occupational status, 0.37 for education and income, and 0.61 for occupational status and income. There were no gender and cohort differences in the heritabilities for education and occupation, but for income, contrary to expectations, the heritabilities were significantly higher among women and for the older cohort (aged 50 or older). The sizable contribution of genes to these socioeconomic outcomes suggests that standard sociological and economic theories on the socioeconomic career require substantial modification to accommodate the role of genetics.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access