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Do left-handers earn more?

A recent study from the US National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that among graduates the earning power of left-handed men is 15% greater than that of men who are right-handed. Certain professions are particularly suited to the traits of left-handers, who have often been cited as making excellent entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, and politicians like Bill Clinton. Clinton was actually the third left-handed president in a row after George Bush and his predecessor Ronald Reagan.

Image descriptionThis backs up psychological evidence suggesting left-handers are more creative and neurological studies that have shown that male left-handers are better at thinking ‘outside the box’ than their right-handed counterparts and are also better able to deal with new situations. This gives them better ability to adapt to previously unknown situations.

Another explanation for the possible advantage enjoyed by left-handers may have to do with the structure of the brain. The main connection between the two hemispheres of the brain is the corpus callosum, a thick band of tissue which has been found to be larger in left-handed men, which could allow a more rapid thought process. This may also explain why the findings only relate to men. Unfortunately left-handed women showed no increase in their earnings.

Links to the research results

Handedness and Earnings
Christopher S. Ruebeck, Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., Robert Moffitt

NBER Working Paper No. 12387
Issued in July 2006
NBER Program(s): ED LS

http://www.nber.org/papers/w12387

For more examples of high-achieving left-handers visit our famous left-handers section
And have a look at the results of our Left-Handers Lifestyle survey to see more about the careers left-handers choose and avoid.

Other pages in our Left Handed Facts Section:

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