The paper I blogged about yesterday was a depressing one for left-handers but here is the good news: they get paid more, ceteris paribus. If they are male, that is. For females, its the other way around. As the paper explains, this is not too surprising in the sense that it is quite common to find handedness having different effects for males & females and often one finds positive associations between left-handedness and some outcome for males & negative for females. What the mechanism is, is another matter.
One possibility is that it is due to environmental factors (i.e. left-handers living in a right-handed world). If that were true, left-handers would be paid less, would sort into non-manual occupations and the penalty would probably be greater in manual occupations.There is no evidence for the latter two and the first holds only for females. So we conjecture that handedness is a marker for some underlying neurological trait. A further piece of supporting evidence is that for females, left-footedness does as good a job of explaining the data as left-handedness and that is unlikely to be an environmental factor: who knows what foot you dig with?
Of course it’s not uncommon to find other variables having different effects for males and females in earnings equations, children for example or sexual orientation.
The Economic consequences of being left-handed: some sinister results
Journal of Human Resources 2007 (Kevin Denny & Vincent O’Sullivan)
This paper estimates the effects of handedness on earnings. Augmenting a
conventional earnings equation with an indicator of left-handedness shows
there is a positive effect on male earnings with manual workers enjoying
a slightly larger premium. These results are inconsistent with the view that
left-handers in general are handicapped either innately or through experiencing
a world geared toward right-handers. Left-handed females however
are paid significantly less. The results are consistent with a range of mostly
psychological evidence, which suggests that left-hander males have particular
talents such as enhanced creativity.