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Handedness, Time Use and Early Childhood Development

David W. Johnston

Monash University

Manisha Shah

UCLA Department of Public Policy; NBER

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

April 2007

IZA Discussion Paper No. 2752

We test if there is a differential in early child development by handedness, using a comprehensive range of measures covering, learning, social, cognitive and language skills, evaluated by both interviewer conducted tests and teacher assessments. We find robust evidence that left-handed children do significantly worse in nearly all measures of development, with the relative disadvantage being larger for boys than girls. Importantly, these differentials cannot be explained by different socio-economic characteristics of the household, parental attitudes or investments in learning resources. In addition, using data from child time use diaries, we find evidence that lefthanded children spend significantly less time each day on educational activities than their righthanded peers, and significantly more time watching television. However, these behavioural differences explain less than 10% of the handedness child development differential. The results of this paper clearly show that handedness differentials are evident even in early childhood.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: handedness, child development, child time use, parental characteristics

JEL Classification: J13, I21

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Date posted: April 26, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Johnston, David W. and Shah, Manisha and Shields, Michael A., Handedness, Time Use and Early Childhood Development (April 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2752. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=982621

Contact Information

David W. Johnston
Monash University ( email )
Melbourne, 3800
HOME PAGE: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/centres/che/staff/profile.html?sid=53288&pid=5002
Manisha Shah
UCLA Department of Public Policy ( email )
Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
United States
HOME PAGE: http://publicaffairs.ucla.edu/manisha-shah
NBER ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Michael A. Shields (Contact Author)
University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )
Victoria 3010, 3010
+61 3 8344 4656 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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References:  28
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