Making it Right? Social Norms, Handwriting and Human Capital

88 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2016 Last revised: 2 Feb 2018

See all articles by Raphael Guber

Raphael Guber

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA)

Date Written: September 16, 2017

Abstract

Can early childhood interventions compensate for innate deficits? In this paper, I study the forced right-hand writing of left-handed children (“switching”). While previous literature has found that, due to innate cognitive deficits, left-handers obtain less human capital and lower wages than right-handers, I find that switched left-handers perform equally well or even better in the labor market than right-handers. Only non-switched left-handers exhibit the deficits of left-handers found in earlier studies. To address potential selection bias, I employ a difference- in-difference approach, where I exploit the rapid decline of switching across cohorts. Cohort trends of the outcome variables of right-handers, who were never switched, are used as a counterfactual for left-handers. Using rich data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), I show that the observed differences in outcomes occur due to differential human capital accumulation, rather than cognitive or non-cognitive skills. My findings are consistent with switching compensating for the innate deficits of left-handers.

Keywords: early childhood intervention, human capital formation, cognitive skills, lefthandedness

JEL Classification: J24, J15, I20

Suggested Citation

Guber, Raphael, Making it Right? Social Norms, Handwriting and Human Capital (September 16, 2017). Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy Discussion Paper No. 07-2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2879384 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2879384

Raphael Guber (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

Amalienstrasse 33
Munich, 80799
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://mea.mpisoc.mpg.de/index.php?id=230&no_cache=1&tx_meamitarbeiteranzeige_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=1224&

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