Everything is heritable: "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration", Proto & Oswald 2015 https://www.dropbox.com/s/qkrzqpby5mqnd4e/2015-proto.pdf
"This paper studies a famous unsolved puzzle in quantitative social science. Why do some nations report such high levels of mental well-being? Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich countries’ happiness; Britain and the US enter further down; some nations do unexpectedly poorly. The explanation for the long-observed ranking -- one that holds after adjustment for GDP and other socioeconomic variables -- is currently unknown. Using data on 131 countries, the paper cautiously explores a new approach. It documents three forms of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that some nations may have a genetic advantage in well-being
A Third Test: Using Data on US Immigrant Descendants in an Examination of the Possible Genetics of Subjective Well-being
The paper provides a final, and purposely different, form of evidence. One of the unusual advantages of a genetic influence is that in principle it should be visible even if historical measures are used.
This is because genetic patterns inherently stem from a previous era.
In Table XIII, we exploit that idea. The table uses data on 29 nations, which is the largest sample available to us for the exercise.
The independent variable here is the coefficient obtained from an ordered probit regression, where (current) happiness of individuals who are born in the US is regressed against their family country-of-origin dummies. There are also controls in the regression equation for age (and its square), gender, income, education and religion; these latter corrections are to provide some control for cultural values. 7 The dependent variables -- there are four in Table XIII -- are the same well-being measures used in the paper’s earlier tables.
The exact methodology is the following. For Americans who report, say, that they have family origins from Italy, we create an independent variable derived from the happiness level of current Italian-Americans.
That independent variable is used, in a regression equation, to help explain the current happiness level of Italy. In effect, the same procedure is repeated for each country within the data set. Here the ultimate aim is to see whether the current well-being of nations is correlated with the reported well-being of Americans who have ancestors from that nation. The purpose of this statistical exercise is not, of course, to argue that happy Italian-Americans directly cause the happiness of today’s Italy. Rather, what the evidence suggests, consistent with the existence of an underlying genetic component in international well-being patterns, is that there is an unexplained positive correlation between the happiness today of Country X and the observed happiness of those Americans whose ancestors came from Country X. In the first column of Table XIII, for example, the coefficient is -46.5 with a standard error of 16.8 (the reason the coefficient is negative is that it is for an equation for Struggling rather than well-being). Such evidence is consistent with a genetic influence.
...Are these effect-sizes substantively significant? It is natural to consider within Table IV what a coefficient of more than 5 on the Nei coefficient, in this best-fitting specification, implies. The standard deviation of Log Nei Distance is slightly greater than 1, and the standard deviation of High Life Satisfaction is approximately 12. Hence one standard deviation in genetic distance is associated with more than one third of a standard deviation in national well-being."
See also http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/03/23/the-price-of-glee-in-china/