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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. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2013. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 1-20.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. David, Cesarini & Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2007. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 679, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jan 2009.
  5. Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "Sex Hormones and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 128, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Marco Casari & John C. Ham & John H. Kagel, 2007. "Selection Bias, Demographic Effects, and Ability Effects in Common Value Auction Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1278-1304, September.
  9. 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..
  10. Ham, John C. & Kagel, John H., 2006. "Gender effects in private value auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 375-382, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  14. 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.
  15. Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "Sex hormones and choice under risk," Working Papers 147, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  16. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. 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.
  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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