Handedness, Ability, Earnings and Risk. Evidence from the Lab
Year of publication: 2016
Keywords: Ability, Big Five, CRT, earnings, gender, handedness, leftie, left-handed, personality traits, risk.
JEL Classification: C91, D81, D87.
The relationship between handedness, ability and, in addition, their joint role in explaining earnings and decisions under risk is studied experimentally to shed new light on the mechanisms behind the mixed evidence in survey data. Data on 432 under graduate students show that left-handed (L) do not obtain a significantly different Cognitive Reflection Test score relative to others nor different payoffs in a stylized labour market with agents working for principals and being paid for exerting costly effort, a proxy for earnings. In addition, they are not significantly more risk averse. In partial contrast, their self-reported achievement at university tends to be significantly higher and driven by females although weakly for some specifications. Finally, when looking at personality traits, measured using the Big Five test, L are significantly more agreeable, showing higher preferences for cooperation, and also tend to be more extroverted, in particular more sociable.