2D:4D Asymmetry and Academic Perfomance: Evidence from Moscow and Manila

16 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2012 Last revised: 31 May 2012

See all articles by Greg V. Androushchak

Greg V. Androushchak

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Maria Yudkevich

National Research University Higher School of Economics

John V. Nye

George Mason University - Department of Economics; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Desiree Desierto

W. Allen Wallis Institute, University of Rochester

Garett Jones

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 4, 2011

Abstract

Exposure to prenatal androgens affects both future behavior and life choices. However, there is still relatively limited evidence on its effects on academic performance. Moreover, the predicted effect of exposure to prenatal testosterone (T) - which is inversely correlated with the relative length of the second to fourth finger lengths (2D:4D) - would seem to have ambiguous effects on academic achievement since traits like confidence, aggressiveness, or risk-taking are not uniformly positive for success in school. We provide the first evidence of a non-linear relationship between 2D:4D and academic achievement using samples from Moscow and Manila. We find that there is a quadratic relationship between high T exposure and markers of achievement such as grades or test scores and that the optimum digit ratio for women in our sample is lower (indicating higher prenatal T) than the average. The results for men are generally insignificant for Moscow but significant for Manila showing similar non-linear effects. Our work is thus unusual in that it draws from a large sample of nearly a thousand university students in Moscow and over a hundred from Manila for whom we also have extensive information on high school test scores, family background and other potential correlates of achievement. Our work is also the first to have a large cross country comparison that includes two groups with very different ethnic compositions.

Keywords: academic performance, university admissions, 2d:4d ratio

JEL Classification: I21, D03

Suggested Citation

Androushchak, Greg V. and Yudkevich, Maria and Nye, John V. C. and Desierto, Desiree and Jones, Garett, 2D:4D Asymmetry and Academic Perfomance: Evidence from Moscow and Manila (October 4, 2011). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 01/EDU/2012; GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 12-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2005698 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2005698

Greg V. Androushchak

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Maria Yudkevich (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

John V. C. Nye

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-4272 (Phone)

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Desiree Desierto

W. Allen Wallis Institute, University of Rochester ( email )

107 Harkness Hall
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY NY 14627
United States

Garett Jones

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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