2D:4D Does Not Predict Economic Preferences: Evidence from a Large, Representative Sample

70 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Aug 2020

See all articles by Levent Neyse

Levent Neyse

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); WZB Berlin Social Science Center; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Magnus Johannesson

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 15, 2020

Abstract

The digit ratio (2D:4D) is considered a proxy for testosterone exposure in utero, and there has been a recent surge of studies testing whether 2D:4D is associated with economic preferences. Although the results are not conclusive, previous studies have reported statistically significant correlations between 2D:4D and risk taking, altruism, positive reciprocity, negative reciprocity and trust. However, most previous studies have small sample sizes gathered from university students and there is also no consensus on the type of analysis (e.g., which hand to analyze or subgroup to focus on). We present results from a pre-registered large sample study testing if 2D:4D is associated with economic preferences. Data were collected in a representative sample of adults in the German Socioeconomic Panel-Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS), in a sample of about 3,450 respondents (about 5 times larger than the previously largest study in this field). We find no statistically significant association between 2D:4D and economic preferences in the largest study to this date on the topic.

Keywords: Economic Behavior, Prenatal Hormones, Testosterone, Digit Ratio

JEL Classification: D03, D87

Suggested Citation

Neyse, Levent and Johanneson, Magnus and Dreber, Anna, 2D:4D Does Not Predict Economic Preferences: Evidence from a Large, Representative Sample (April 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3576515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3576515

Levent Neyse

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Magnus Johanneson

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 736 9443 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hhs.se/Faculty/showperson.htm?personid=198

Anna Dreber (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

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