Education and Social Trust

Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design

Sven Oskarsson, Peter Thisted Dinesen, Christopher Dawes, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K. E. Magnusson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    One of the clearest results in previous studies on social trust is the robust positive relationship with educational attainment. The most common interpretation is that education has a causal effect on social trust. The theoretical argument and empirical results in this article suggest a different interpretation. We argue that common preadult factors such as cognitive abilities and personality traits rooted in genes and early-life family environment may confound the relationship between educational attainment and social trust. We provide new evidence on this question by utilizing the quasi-experiment of twinning. By looking at the relationship between education and social trust within monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs, we are able to avoid potential confounders rooted in genetic factors and common environmental influences because the monozygotic twins share both. The results suggest that when controlling for such familial factors the estimated effects of education on social trust are close to zero and far from reaching statistical significance. Further analyses show that the relationship between education and social trust largely is driven by common genetic factors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)515-531
    Number of pages17
    JournalPolitical Psychology
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

    Fingerprint

    Education
    heredity
    education
    Monozygotic Twins
    interpretation
    statistical significance
    cognitive ability
    personality traits
    Aptitude
    Personality
    Causal
    Testing
    experiment
    evidence
    Genes

    Keywords

    • Cholesky decomposition
    • discordant twin design
    • education
    • social trust

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Oskarsson, S., Thisted Dinesen, P., Dawes, C., Johannesson, M., & K. E. Magnusson, P. (2017). Education and Social Trust: Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design. Political Psychology, 38(3), 515-531. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12343

    Education and Social Trust : Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design. / Oskarsson, Sven; Thisted Dinesen, Peter; Dawes, Christopher; Johannesson, Magnus; K. E. Magnusson, Patrik.

    In: Political Psychology, Vol. 38, No. 3, 01.06.2017, p. 515-531.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Oskarsson, S, Thisted Dinesen, P, Dawes, C, Johannesson, M & K. E. Magnusson, P 2017, 'Education and Social Trust: Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design', Political Psychology, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 515-531. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12343
    Oskarsson S, Thisted Dinesen P, Dawes C, Johannesson M, K. E. Magnusson P. Education and Social Trust: Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design. Political Psychology. 2017 Jun 1;38(3):515-531. https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12343
    Oskarsson, Sven ; Thisted Dinesen, Peter ; Dawes, Christopher ; Johannesson, Magnus ; K. E. Magnusson, Patrik. / Education and Social Trust : Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design. In: Political Psychology. 2017 ; Vol. 38, No. 3. pp. 515-531.
    @article{4783558a75c644e1b78053a62ecd2d8a,
    title = "Education and Social Trust: Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design",
    abstract = "One of the clearest results in previous studies on social trust is the robust positive relationship with educational attainment. The most common interpretation is that education has a causal effect on social trust. The theoretical argument and empirical results in this article suggest a different interpretation. We argue that common preadult factors such as cognitive abilities and personality traits rooted in genes and early-life family environment may confound the relationship between educational attainment and social trust. We provide new evidence on this question by utilizing the quasi-experiment of twinning. By looking at the relationship between education and social trust within monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs, we are able to avoid potential confounders rooted in genetic factors and common environmental influences because the monozygotic twins share both. The results suggest that when controlling for such familial factors the estimated effects of education on social trust are close to zero and far from reaching statistical significance. Further analyses show that the relationship between education and social trust largely is driven by common genetic factors.",
    keywords = "Cholesky decomposition, discordant twin design, education, social trust",
    author = "Sven Oskarsson and {Thisted Dinesen}, Peter and Christopher Dawes and Magnus Johannesson and {K. E. Magnusson}, Patrik",
    year = "2017",
    month = "6",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1111/pops.12343",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "38",
    pages = "515--531",
    journal = "Political Psychology",
    issn = "0162-895X",
    publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
    number = "3",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Education and Social Trust

    T2 - Testing a Causal Hypothesis Using the Discordant Twin Design

    AU - Oskarsson, Sven

    AU - Thisted Dinesen, Peter

    AU - Dawes, Christopher

    AU - Johannesson, Magnus

    AU - K. E. Magnusson, Patrik

    PY - 2017/6/1

    Y1 - 2017/6/1

    N2 - One of the clearest results in previous studies on social trust is the robust positive relationship with educational attainment. The most common interpretation is that education has a causal effect on social trust. The theoretical argument and empirical results in this article suggest a different interpretation. We argue that common preadult factors such as cognitive abilities and personality traits rooted in genes and early-life family environment may confound the relationship between educational attainment and social trust. We provide new evidence on this question by utilizing the quasi-experiment of twinning. By looking at the relationship between education and social trust within monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs, we are able to avoid potential confounders rooted in genetic factors and common environmental influences because the monozygotic twins share both. The results suggest that when controlling for such familial factors the estimated effects of education on social trust are close to zero and far from reaching statistical significance. Further analyses show that the relationship between education and social trust largely is driven by common genetic factors.

    AB - One of the clearest results in previous studies on social trust is the robust positive relationship with educational attainment. The most common interpretation is that education has a causal effect on social trust. The theoretical argument and empirical results in this article suggest a different interpretation. We argue that common preadult factors such as cognitive abilities and personality traits rooted in genes and early-life family environment may confound the relationship between educational attainment and social trust. We provide new evidence on this question by utilizing the quasi-experiment of twinning. By looking at the relationship between education and social trust within monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs, we are able to avoid potential confounders rooted in genetic factors and common environmental influences because the monozygotic twins share both. The results suggest that when controlling for such familial factors the estimated effects of education on social trust are close to zero and far from reaching statistical significance. Further analyses show that the relationship between education and social trust largely is driven by common genetic factors.

    KW - Cholesky decomposition

    KW - discordant twin design

    KW - education

    KW - social trust

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85019015805&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85019015805&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1111/pops.12343

    DO - 10.1111/pops.12343

    M3 - Article

    VL - 38

    SP - 515

    EP - 531

    JO - Political Psychology

    JF - Political Psychology

    SN - 0162-895X

    IS - 3

    ER -