Between nature and nurture : The genetic overlap between psychological attributes and selection into public service employment

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-822
Number of pages14
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration Review
Volume83
Issue number4
Online published8 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Abstract

Public administration scholars have had a long-lasting interest in examining individual differences relevant to the attractiveness of public service employment. However, very few studies have explored the genetic underpinnings of these variations. This article builds upon recent behavioral genetics literature and explores whether there are genetic overlaps between psychological attributes and selection into public service employment. We construct the polygenic risk scores (PRSs) on two psychological attributes-neuroticism and positive affect-to model the genetic influence on public service employment in a nationwide UK dataset with 262,795 participants. The results suggest that the PRS of positive affect is a significant predictor of individuals' selection into public service employment, implying that individuals with high innate happiness are more likely to self-select into service work. Taking the existing socialization literature and this result into consideration, our findings support that both nature and nurture factors shape individuals' selection into public service employment.

Research Area(s)

  • PERSON-ORGANIZATION FIT, BIG 5, POSITIVE AFFECT, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, VOCATIONAL INTERESTS, 5-FACTOR MODEL, HEXACO MODEL, ANTECEDENTS, MOTIVATION, BEHAVIOR