A story in the most recent issue of Scientific American Mind discusses the work of Jan-Emmanuel de Neve and James Fowler, who suggested in 2009 that "the MAOA gene predicts credit card debt." In their paper — posted to the Social Science Research Network — de Neve, of the London School of Economics, and Fowler, of the University of California, San Diego, "present the first evidence" that individuals with a polymorphism of the MAOA gene show a decreased transcriptional efficiency, and are "significantly more likely to report having credit card debt," they write. Specifically, they found that "having one or both MAOA alleles of the low efficiency type raised the average likelihood of having credit card debt by 7.8 percent and 15.9 percent, respectively," the team found, using data from 2,000 young adults as part of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. According to Scientific American Mind, "the gene affects credit-care debt the way other genes have been found to play a role in breast cancer." In their paper, the authors suggest that a combination of their genetic analyses, along with an examination of an individual's socio-economic environment, could "fine-tune existing model of financial and other economic decisions," though they warn that the potential consequences "of possible discrimination by lenders on the basis of genotype" ought to be considered.
The Credit Score Gene?
Aug 12, 2010