IFS Working Papers (W06/07)

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

Date: 28 March 2006
Authors: Kevin Denny and Vincent O'Sullivan
ISSN: 1742-0415
Volume, issue, pages: 35 pp.
Keywords: Earnings, brain, left-handed, laterality
DOI: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2006.0607
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.