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The Visible Hand: Finger Ratio (2D:4D) and Competitive Bidding

  • Matthew Pearson
  • Burkhard Schipper

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

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, 2001, and Hoenekopp, Manning, and Mueller, 2006), risk aversion in lottery tasks (Dreber and Hoffman, 2007, Garbarino et al., 2010), and the average profitability of high-frequency traders in financial markets (Coates, Gurnell, and Rustichini, 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.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 119.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: 25 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:11-9
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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 232, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1988. " Theory and Individual Behavior of First-Price Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 61-99, March.
  4. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard C. Schipper, 2009. "Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 911, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
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  7. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk," Working Papers 127, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
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  9. 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.
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  15. Morgan John & Steiglitz Ken & Reis George, 2003. "The Spite Motive and Equilibrium Behavior in Auctions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, April.
  16. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
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  18. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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