PLoS ONE – 2016
Abstract: Evidence showing that on average left-handed (L), who are 10% in a population, tend to earn less than others is solely based on survey data. This paper is the first to test the relationship between handedness and earnings experimentally and also to assess whether the mechanism underlying it is predominantly cognitive or psychological. Data on 432 undergraduate students show that L do not obtain significantly different payoffs, a proxy for earnings, in a stylised labour market with multiple principals and agents. Similarly, scores in the Cognitive Reflection Test are not significantly different. Data on personality, measured using the Big Five test, show, instead, that L are significantly more agreeable and L females more extroverted. In addition, earnings significantly vary with personality only for L, increasing with extraversion and decreasing with neuroticism. Overall, our results fail to reject the null hypothesis that earnings do not differ by handedness and suggest differences in personality as a novel mechanism to rationalise L’s behaviour.