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Handedness and Child Development

Author

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  • Paul Gregg
  • Katharina Janke
  • Carol Propper

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Abstract

Left-handedness is historically associated with poorer outcomes for adults. Yet recent work has suggested that there may be positive labour market returns for left-handed males. This paper examines whether handedness is also associated with poorer outcomes for children and whether this differs by genders. The paper examines a wide set of outcomes for children as they age from 42 months to 14 years. We find the main penalty is not from being left-handed, but is from not having a dominant hand early in life. This penalty is larger for girls than boys by age 14, indicating that early deficits of non-right handed boys appear to fall as they age. For girls, being left-handed and especially mixed-handed at early ages is associated with persistent cognitive attainment deficits, mainly focused at the lower end of the ability distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:08/198
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    File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2008/wp198.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 43-60, March.
    2. Christopher S. Ruebeck & Joseph E. Harrington, Jr & Robert Moffitt, 1997. "Handedness and Earnings," Economics Working Paper Archive 533, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2004.
    3. Beck A. Taylor & Eric Dearing & Kathleen McCartney, 2004. "Incomes and Outcomes in Early Childhood," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    4. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 2006. "Selective Counteroffers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 385-410, July.
    5. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    6. Kevin Denny & Vincent O'Sullivan, 2004. "The economic consequences of being left-handed : some sinister results (version 2.0)," Working Papers 200422, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. 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).
    8. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2006. "Explaining Intergenerational Income Persistence: Non-cognitive Skills, Ability and Education," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/146, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Alison Aughinbaugh & Maury Gittleman, 2003. "Does Money Matter?: A Comparison of the Effect of Income on Child Development in the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Frijters & David Johnston & Manisha Shah & Michael Shields, 2013. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation: Do Parents Reduce or Reinforce Child Ability Gaps?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 2187-2208, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Handedness; child outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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