It appears that the key to success not only lies in hard work, and a certain amount of luck, but also in your genes, a new study has found.
The study, conducted by boffins at the Institute for the Study of Labour (Institut zur Zukunft der Arbeit, IZA) and the University of Bonn, found that the decision to take risks or not to jump head first does depends a lot on a person’s pedigree.
The researchers working on the study found that parents who are willing to take risks tend on average to have children who are more prepared to take risks.
They also found that the willingness to trust one's fellow humans is apparently also inherited.
As a part of the research, the boffins used data from the "socio-economic" panel from 2003 and 2004 which had interviewed 3,600 parents together with their children. On average the children were 25 years old; more than 40 per cent were no longer living with their parents.
Every member of the family was supposed to estimate their willingness to take risks on a scale of 0 (= not willing at all to take risks) to 10 (= very willing to take risks).
Candidates were also supposed to differentiate between the following categories: driving a car, financial matters, sport, leisure, career and health.
Professor Armin Falk, director of research at the IZA and head of the laboratory for experimental economic research at Bonn University, and one of the study’s researchers, said that when it comes to the willingness to take risks, kids often take after their parents.
"With regard to willingness to take risks children are astonishingly similar to their parents. This is not only true for the overall estimate, but also for the different categories. There are people, for example, for whom no mogul piste is too steep when skiing, but who invest their money in secure government bonds. An identical risk profile can often be found with their children," Falk said.
"If children are similar to their parents in their willingness to take risks and trust others, they will often make similar decisions in economic situations, too. Of course people who come from a rich family simply have better chances in life," Professor Falk added.
The results offer a new basis for explaining why children who have successful parents often go far in life as well.