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Nature versus Nurture in the Inheritance of Social Status


Most work studying the inheritance of aspects of social status across societies suggests two things. The first is that this inheritance is weak. Most social status for people is not determined by inheritance from parents. The second is that the strength of inheritance of status varies markedly across societies, so that status inheritance must be largely socially determined. In recent work using surnames as a means of measuring status inheritance across as many as twenty generations we show that in practice status inheritance is very strong, and that it varies surprisingly little across the societies and social systems. In this talk I propose that these surname results are compatible with genetics being the principle determinant of social status in most societies.

Monday, January 12, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Los Angeles, CA, Haines Hall 352, UCLA



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