Heredity, Family, and Inequality: A Critique of Social Sciences

Overview

Empirical literature in disciplines ranging from behavioral genetics to economics shows that in virtually every aspect of life the outcomes of children are correlated to a greater or lesser extent with the outcomes of their parents and their siblings. In Heredity, Family, and Inequality, the economist Michael Beenstock offers theoretical, statistical, and methodological tools for understanding these correlations. Beenstock presents a comprehensive survey of intergenerational and sibling correlations for a broad ...

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Overview

Empirical literature in disciplines ranging from behavioral genetics to economics shows that in virtually every aspect of life the outcomes of children are correlated to a greater or lesser extent with the outcomes of their parents and their siblings. In Heredity, Family, and Inequality, the economist Michael Beenstock offers theoretical, statistical, and methodological tools for understanding these correlations. Beenstock presents a comprehensive survey of intergenerational and sibling correlations for a broad range of outcomes—including fertility and longevity, intelligence and education, income and consumption, and deviancy and religiosity. He then offers a critique of the sometimes conflicting explanations for these correlations proposed by social scientists from such disciplines as developmental psychology, sociology, and economics. Beenstock also provides an axiomatic framework for thinking about the complex interplay of heredity, family, and environments, drawing on game theory,control theory, and econometrics. Chapters 1-7 discuss such topics as the important contributions of Francis Galton (1822—1911) to the statistical study of heredity,the family as an engine of inequality and diversity, and natural experiments designed to identify how environments, families, peer groups, and neighborhoods affect human outcomes. Chapters 8-10 present technical material on statistical,theoretical, and methodological tools used by the earlier chapters.

Beenstock's goal is not to argue for either nature or nurture but to suggest more rigorous ways to assess the diverse contributions to this lively debate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If inequality in any form is an interest, this book is a must read." — D. J. Conger, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262016926
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Beenstock is Professor of Economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 The Apple and the Tree: Galton Revisited 1

2 Correlation within the Family 47

3 Theory: What Explains the Intergenerational and Sibling Correlations? 83

4 Inequality, Diversity, and Family 143

5 Empirical Methodology 177

6 Empirical Knowledge on the Causes of Correlations within the Family 223

7 Where Do We Go from Here? 275

8 Statistics 301

9 Parenting Theory and Child Behavior 341

10 Empirical Methodology 377

Notes 435

Terms and Concepts 449

Variables, Subscripts, and Greek Letters 453

Bibliography 455

Index 471

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