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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. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Selection bias, demographic effects, and ability effects in common value auction experiments," Staff Reports 213, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
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  17. Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "Sex hormones and choice under risk," Working Papers 147, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  18. 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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