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Abstract

This study investigates the influence of genetic factors on survey response behavior. A pool of 558 male and 500 female twin pairs from the Minnesota Twin Registry (MTR) was asked to complete a paper-and-pencil survey of leadership activities. We used quantitative genetics techniques to estimate the genetic, shared environmental, and nonshared environmental effects on people's compliance with the request for survey participation. Results indicated that genetic influences explained 45% of the variance in survey response behavior for both women and men, with little shared environmental effects. Similar estimates were obtained after we partialled out potential confounds including twin closeness, age, and education. The results have important implications for response rates and nonresponse bias in survey-based research. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.