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The economic consequences of being left-handed : some sinister results (version 2.0)

  • Kevin Denny
  • Vincent O'Sullivan

This paper provides the first estimates of the effects of handedness on hourly earnings using data on a sample of 33 year olds in the United Kingdom. Augmenting a conventional earnings equation with indicators of left handedness shows there is a well determined positive effect on male earnings with non-manual workers enjoying a slightly larger premium once we allow for non random selection into occupation. This is not consistent with the view that left-handers in general are in some sense handicapped either being innately or through experiencing a world geared towards right-handers. It is consistent with the popular notion of left-handers having particular talents such as enhanced creativity. The results for females however reveal the opposite, left-handed females are paid significantly less. This paper forms part of the Policy Evaluation Program at the Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISSC) at UCD.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/945
File Function: First version, 2004
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200422.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200422
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  2. Plug, Erik & Berkhout, Peter, 2001. "Effects of Sexual Preferences on Earnings in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kevin Denny & Vincent O’ Sullivan, 2007. "The Economic Consequences of Being Left-Handed: Some Sinister Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  5. Gerrit Mueller & Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Personality on Male-Female Earnings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-087/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 Aug 2005.
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  8. 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.
  9. Christopher S. Ruebeck & Joseph E. Harrington, Jr. & Robert Moffitt, 2006. "Handedness and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 12387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  11. Mikael Lindahl & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Education for Growth: Why and for Whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1101-1136, December.
  12. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  13. 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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