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The visible hand: finger ratio (2D:4D) and competitive bidding

  • Matthew Pearson


  • Burkhard Schipper


In an experiment using two-bidder first-price sealed bid auctions with symmetric independent private values and 400 subjects, we scan also the right hand of each subject. We study how the ratio of the length of the index and ring fingers (2D:4D) of the right hand, a measure of prenatal hormone exposure, is correlated with bidding behavior and total profits. 2D:4D has been reported to predict competitiveness in sports competition (Manning and Taylor in Evol. Hum. Behav. 22:61–69, 2001 , and Hönekopp et al. in Horm. Behav. 49:545–549, 2006 ), risk aversion in lottery tasks (Dreber and Hoffman in Portfolio selection in utero. Stockholm School of Economics, 2007 ; Garbarino et al. in J. Risk Uncertain. 42:1–26, 2011 ), and the average profitability of high-frequency traders in financial markets (Coates et al. in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 106:623–628, 2009 ). We do not find any significant correlation between 2D:4D on either bidding or profits. However, there might be racial differences in the correlation between 2D:4D and bidding and profits. Copyright Economic Science Association 2012

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 510-529

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:15:y:2012:i:3:p:510-529
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  1. Chen, Yan & Katuščák, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2013. "Why canʼt a woman bid more like a man?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 181-213.
  2. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard C. Schipper, 2009. "Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 911, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  16. Chen, Yan & Katuscak, Peter & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2007. "Sealed bid auctions with ambiguity: Theory and experiments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 513-535, September.
  17. Ellen Garbarino & Robert Slonim & Justin Sydnor, 2011. "Digit ratios (2D:4D) as predictors of risky decision making for both sexes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 1-26, February.
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