2D:4D Does Not Predict Economic Preferences: Evidence from a Large, Representative Sample
70 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Aug 2020
Date Written: April 15, 2020
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: Suggested Citation