Economics at your fingertips  

Competitiveness, gender and handedness: a large- sample intercultural study

Thomas Buser (), Alexander Cappelen (), Uri Gneezy, Moshe Hoffman and Bertil Tungodden ()
Additional contact information
Uri Gneezy: Rady School of Management, USCD
Moshe Hoffman: MIT and Harvard

No 2/2020, Discussion Paper Series in Economics from Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

Abstract: We conduct a large-scale intercultural experiment to elicit competitiveness and ask whether individual and gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature. We use being a “lefty” (i.e., having either a dominant left hand or a dominant left foot) as a proxy for nature, as it is associated with neurological differences which are determined prenatally and reflects a masculinized neurology. That way we use handedness and footedness as a proxy for innate differences. In large-scale data with incentivized choices from 3683 participants from India, Norway and Tanzania, we find a significant gender gap in competitiveness in all cultures. However, we find inconsistent results when comparing the competitiveness of lefties and righties. In northeast India we find that lefties of both genders are significantly more competitive than righties. In Norway we find that lefty men are more competitive than any other group, but women’s competitiveness is not related to handedness or footedness. In Tanzania, we find no effect of handedness or footedness on the competitiveness of either gender. The merged data show weak evidence of a positive correlation between being a lefty and competitiveness for men, but no such evidence for women. Thus, our data do not provide robust evidence that gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature, where nature is represented by the complex, physiologically-rooted phenomenon of handedness.

Keywords: Competitiveness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21 pages
Date: 2020-01-16
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gen and nep-neu
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Full text (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Discussion Paper Series in Economics from Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Karen Reed-Larsen ().

Page updated 2021-03-01
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2020_002