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Making it right? Social norms, handwriting and human capital

Raphael Guber

Labour Economics, 2019, vol. 56, issue C, 44-57

Abstract: Previous literature has found that, due to innate cognitive deficits, left-handers obtain less human capital and lower wages than right-handers. In this paper, I study the associations of forced right-hand writing of left-handed children (“switching”) with later life outcomes. Using rich data from the German SOEP, I am able to distinguish between switched and non-switched left-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. I apply Gelbach’s (2016) conditional decomposition to show that the observed differences in outcomes occur due to differential human capital accumulation, rather than cognitive or non-cognitive skills.

Keywords: Early-childhood intervention; Labor market performance; Human capital formation; left-handedness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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