Experimental game theory and behavior genetics

David Cesarini, Christopher T. Dawes, Magnus Johannesson, Paul Lichtenstein, Björn Wallace

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    We summarize the findings from a research program studying the heritability of behavior in a number of widely used economic games, including trust, dictator, and ultimatum games. Results from the standard behavior genetic variance decomposition suggest that strategies and fundamental economic preference parameters are moderately heritable, with estimates ranging from 18 to 42%. In addition, we also report new evidence on so-called "hyperfair" preferences in the ultimatum game. We discuss the implications of our findings with special reference to current efforts that seek to understand the molecular genetic architecture of complex social behaviors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationValues, Empathy, and Fairness across Social Barriers
    PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)9781573317603
    StatePublished - Jun 2009

    Publication series

    NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
    ISSN (Print)0077-8923
    ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


    • Behavior genetics
    • Biomarkers
    • Experimental economics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Neuroscience
    • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • History and Philosophy of Science


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