2D:4D and Lifetime Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RLMS Survey

44 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2016 Last revised: 7 Apr 2017

See all articles by John V. Nye

John V. Nye

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

Maksym Bryukhanov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Sergiy Polyachenko

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: August 15, 2016

Abstract

Is in utero exposure to testosterone (T), measured by the second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D), associated with lifetime educational attainment? A growing body of work finds exposure to prenatal T to be associated with aggression, physical fitness, performance in computer science, and type of occupation. However, there has not yet been substantial research its relationship with lifetime educational outcomes. Using a large sample drawn from families in Moscow and in the Moscow region from the Russian Longitudinal Measurement Survey (RLMS), we observe clear links between measured 2D:4D and the levels of education obtained by men. Statistically significant positive associations between higher 2D:4D (lower prenatal T) and higher levels of education were found, using difference in means analysis and generalized ordered logit (gologit) regressions. These findings were also robust to using a different subsample. Weaker findings were seen for women. Since many of the earlier findings have shown the benefits of higher prenatal T for achievement, the current finding of a negative effect of prenatal T on educational attainment raises interesting issues about the ambiguous effects of prenatal T and the degree to which the traits it promotes interact with different tasks and social contexts.

Keywords: 2D:4D, prenatal testosterone, education, RLMS, Russia

JEL Classification: I15, I21

Suggested Citation

Nye, John V. C. and Bryukhanov, Maksym and Polyachenko, Sergiy, 2D:4D and Lifetime Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RLMS Survey (August 15, 2016). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 145/EC/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2823451 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2823451

John V. C. Nye

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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

Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Maksym Bryukhanov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Sergiy Polyachenko (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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