Heritability in political interest and efficacy across cultures: Denmark and the United States

Robert Klemmensen, Peter K. Hatemi, Sara B. Hobolt, Axel Skytthe, Asbjorn S. Norgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Interest in politics is important for a host of political behaviors and beliefs. Yet little is known about where political interest comes from. Most studies exploring the source of political interest focus on parental influences, economic status, and opportunity. Here, we investigate an alternative source: genetic transmission. Using two twin samples, one drawn from Denmark and the other from USA, we find that there is a high degree of heritability in political interest. Furthermore, we show that interest in politics and political efficacy share the same underlying, latent genetic factor. These findings add to the growing body of literature that documents political behaviors and attitudes as not simply the result of socialization, but also as part of an individual's genetically informed disposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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