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The economic consequences of being left-handed: some sinister results

  • Kevin Denny

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

  • Vincent O'Sullivan

This paper provides the first estimates of the effects of handedness on hourly earnings. Augmenting a conventional earnings equation with an indicator of left handedness shows there is a well determined positive effect on male earnings with non-manual workers enjoying a slightly larger premium. These results are inconsistent with the view that left-handers in general are in some sense handicapped either innately or through experiencing a world geared towards right-handers. The results for females however reveal the opposite, left-handed females are paid significantly less. This is consistent with some psychological evidence which suggests that left-hander males have particular talents such as enhanced creativity and some evidence on brain morphology which also suggests advantages for left-handed males.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0607.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W06/07.

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Length: 35 pp.
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:06/07
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  2. Dearden, Lorraine, 1999. "The effects of families and ability on men's education and earnings in Britain1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 551-567, November.
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  6. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
  7. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert Buchele, 1983. "Economic Achievement and the Power of Positive Thinking," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 441-449.
  9. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  10. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
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