Handedness Predicts Social Preferences: Evidence Connecting the Lab to the Field

Tinbergen Discussion Paper TI 10-119/3

26 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2010

See all articles by Thomas Buser

Thomas Buser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Date Written: November 30, 2010

Abstract

It is now generally accepted that some people are more altruistic, more trusting, or more reciprocal than others, but it is still unclear whether these differences are innate or a consequence of nurture. We analyse the correlation between handedness and social preferences in the lab and find that left-handed men are significantly more generous when recipients have the possibility to reciprocate and exhibit stronger positive reciprocity themselves. Left-handed women are significantly less altruistic. We test the external validity of these findings by connecting them to large-scale survey data from the Netherlands and the US covering altruistic behaviour and reciprocity outside the lab. The results largely carry over. We argue that our findings demonstrate that social preferences are at least partially determined by nature and help to shed light on their neural origins.

Keywords: social preferences, handedness, external validity of lab experiments

JEL Classification: D87, C91

Suggested Citation

Buser, Thomas, Handedness Predicts Social Preferences: Evidence Connecting the Lab to the Field (November 30, 2010). Tinbergen Discussion Paper TI 10-119/3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1718993 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1718993

Thomas Buser (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/thomasbuser/

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
79
Abstract Views
1,205
rank
368,214
PlumX Metrics