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2d:4d and Lifetime Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RLMS Survey


  • John V. Nye

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Maksym Bryukhanov

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Sergiy Polyachenko

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


Is in utero exposure to testosterone (T), measured by the second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), associated with lifetime educational attainment? A growing body of work finds exposure to prenatal T to be associated with aggression, physical fitness, performance in computer science, and type of occupation. However, there has not yet been substantial research its relationship with lifetime educational outcomes. Using a large sample drawn from families in Moscow and in the Moscow region from the Russian Longitudinal Measurement Survey (RLMS), we observe clear links between measured 2D:4D and the levels of education obtained by men. Statistically significant positive associations between higher 2D:4D (lower prenatal T) and higher levels of education were found, using difference in means analysis and generalized ordered logit (gologit) regressions. These findings were also robust to using a different subsample. Weaker findings were seen for women. Since many of the earlier findings have shown the benefits of higher prenatal T for achievement, the current finding of a negative effect of prenatal T on educational attainment raises interesting issues about the ambiguous effects of prenatal T and the degree to which the traits it promotes interact with different tasks and social contexts

Suggested Citation

  • John V. Nye & Maksym Bryukhanov & Sergiy Polyachenko, 2016. "2d:4d and Lifetime Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RLMS Survey," HSE Working papers WP BRP 145/EC/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:145/ec/2016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
    2. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "The Declining Relative Importance of Ability in Predicting Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    3. John V.C. Nye & Maria M. Yudkevich & Ekaterina A. Orel & Ekaterina V. Kochergina, 2014. "The Effects Of Prenatal Testosterone On Adult Wages: Evidence From Russian Rlms Data And Measured 2d:4d Digit Ratios," HSE Working papers WP BRP 71/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-653, October.
    6. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2001. "Family Matters: Impacts of Family Background on Educational Attainments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 137-156, May.
    7. Lauer, Charlotte, 2003. "Family background, cohort and education: A French-German comparison based on a multivariate ordered probit model of educational attainment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 231-251, April.
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    More about this item


    2D:4D; prenatal testosterone; education; RLMS; Russia;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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