Second-to-Fourth Digit Ratio has a Non-Monotonic Impact on Altruism
Gene-culture co-evolution emphasizes the joint role of culture and genes for the emergence of altruistic and cooperative behaviors and behavioral genetics provides estimates of their relative importance. However, these approaches cannot assess which biological traits determine altruism or how. We analyze the association between altruism in adults and the exposure to prenatal sex hormones, using the second-to-fourth digit ratio. We find an inverted U-shaped relation for left and right hands, which is very consistent for men and less systematic for women. Subjects with both high and low digit ratios give less than individuals with intermediate digit ratios. We repeat the exercise with the same subjects seven months later and find a similar association, even though subjects' behavior differs the second time they play the game. We then construct proxies of the median digit ratio in the population (using more than 1000 different subjects), show that subjects' altruism decreases with the distance of their ratio to these proxies. These results provide direct evidence that prenatal events contribute to the variation of altruistic behavior and that the exposure to fetal hormones is one of the relevant biological factors. In addition, the findings suggest that there might be an optimal level of exposure to these hormones from social perspective.
|Date of creation:||2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866|
Phone: (714) 628-2830
Fax: (714) 628-2881
Web page: http://www.chapman.edu/esi/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842.
- 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.
- Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2011.
"A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1144-1155.
- Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2011. "A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1144-1155, October.
- Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jimenez & Luis Miller, 2009.
"Are women expected to be more generous?,"
Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 93-98, March.
- Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Natalia Jiménez & Luis Miller, 2007. "Are women expected to be more generous?," ThE Papers 07/08, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
- Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Brañas-Garza & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jiménez & Luis M. Miller, 2006. "Gender based prescriptions: evidence for altruism," ThE Papers 06/11, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
- Brañas Garza, Pablo & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Cobo Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni, 2006.
"Altruism in the (Social) Network,"
DFAEII Working Papers
2006-04, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
- Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
- Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Enrique Turiegano, 2009. "Testosterone, Facial Symmetry and Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma," ESE Discussion Papers 192, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
- van der Loos, Matthijs J. H. M. & Benjamin, Daniel J. & Cesarini, David & Dawes, Christopher T. & Koellinger, Philipp D. & Magnusson, Patrik K. E. & Chabris, Christopher F. & Conley, Dalton & Laibson,, 2012. "The Genetic Architecture of Economic and Political Preferences," Scholarly Articles 10121961, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Buser, Thomas, 2012.
"Digit ratios, the menstrual cycle and social preferences,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 457-470.
- Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
- Matthew W. McCarter & Anya C. Samak & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013.
"Divided Loyalties or Conditional Cooperation? An experimental study of contributions to multiple public goods,"
13-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
- Matthew McCarter & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "Divided Loyalties or Conditional Cooperation? An Experimental Study of Contributions to Multiple Public Goods," Artefactual Field Experiments 00425, The Field Experiments Website.
- Kovarik, Jaromir & Jiménez, Natalia & Ponti, Giovanni & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo & Cobo Reyes, Ramón, 2009.
"Altruism and Social Integration,"
DFAEII Working Papers
2009-35, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Megan Luetje)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.