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The economic consequences of being left-handed: some sinister results

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Author Info

  • Kevin Denny

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

  • Vincent O'Sullivan

Abstract

This paper provides the first estimates of the effects of handedness on hourly earnings. Augmenting a conventional earnings equation with an indicator of left handedness shows there is a well determined positive effect on male earnings with non-manual workers enjoying a slightly larger premium. These results are inconsistent with the view that left-handers in general are in some sense handicapped either innately or through experiencing a world geared towards right-handers. The results for females however reveal the opposite, left-handed females are paid significantly less. This is consistent with some psychological evidence which suggests that left-hander males have particular talents such as enhanced creativity and some evidence on brain morphology which also suggests advantages for left-handed males.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0607.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W06/07.

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Length: 35 pp.
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:06/07

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Related research

Keywords: Earnings; brain; left-handed; laterality;

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References

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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," Working Papers 808, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  5. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  6. Erik Plug & Peter Berkhout, 2004. "Effects of sexual preferences on earnings in the Netherlands," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 117-131, February.
  7. Robert Buchele, 1983. "Economic Achievement and the Power of Positive Thinking," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 441-449.
  8. Dearden, Lorraine, 1999. "The effects of families and ability on men's education and earnings in Britain1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 551-567, November.
  9. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Goodman, Joshua Samuel, 2012. "The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure and Human Capital Accumulation," Scholarly Articles 7779971, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Kevin Denny, 2006. "Cognitive ability and hemispheric indecision: two surpluses and a deficit," Working Papers 200611, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Johnston, David W. & Nicholls, Michael E. R. & Shah, Manisha & Shields, Michael A., 2010. "Handedness, Health and Cognitive Development: Evidence from Children in the NLSY," IZA Discussion Papers 4774, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Alex Bryson & Bernd Frick & Rob Simmons, 2009. "The Returns to Scarce Talent: Footedness and Player Remuneration in European Soccer," CEP Discussion Papers dp0948, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Kevin Denny, 2008. "Handedness and depression, evidence from a large population survey," Working Papers 200815, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  6. Dennis Coates & Sungil Hong & Michael Mondello, 2011. "An Examination of the Effects of the Recent Economic Crisis on Major League Baseball (MLB) Attendance Demand," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 11-136, UMBC Department of Economics.
  7. Thomas Buser, 2010. "Handedness predicts Social Preferences: Evidence connecting the Lab to the Field," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-119/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. David Johnston & Michael Nicholls & Manisha Shah & Michael Shields, 2009. "Nature’s experiment? Handedness and early childhood development," Demography, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 281-301, May.
  9. Johnston, David W. & Shah, Manisha & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Handedness, Time Use and Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 2752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Paul Gregg & Katharina Janke & Carol Propper, 2008. "Handedness and Child Development," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/198, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  11. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shah, Manisha & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Early Child Development and Maternal Labor Force Participation: Using Handedness as an Instrument," IZA Discussion Papers 3537, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Paul Frijters & David Johnston & Manisha Shah & Michael Shields, 2013. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation: Do Parents Reduce or Reinforce Child Ability Gaps?," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2187-2208, December.
  13. Dennis Coates & Sara Azmoudeh Fard, 2011. "Returns to handedness in professional hockey," Working Papers 1121, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
  14. Thomas Buser, 2010. "Handedness predicts Social Preferences: Evidence connecting the Lab to the Field," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-119/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Hessels, Jolanda & Rietveld, Cornelius A. & van der Zwan, Peter, 2014. "Unraveling two myths about entrepreneurs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 435-438.

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