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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. Ham, John C. & Kagel, John H., 2006. "Gender effects in private value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 375-382, September.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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..
  4. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Emel Filiz-Ozbay & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2007. "Auctions with Anticipated Regret: Theory and Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1407-1418, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2009. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," MPRA Paper 16784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 128, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  9. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk," Working Papers 127, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  10. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  11. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. 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.
  13. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842, May.
  14. 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.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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