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; 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)

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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