John Nyea
John Nyea
Maria Yudkevich
Maria Yudkevich

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The Effect of Testosterone on Wages

Data from Russia

Higher School of Economics 02, 02, 2017

John Nyea, George Mason University, USA, Maxim Bryukhanov, Ekaterina Kochergina, Ekaterina Orel, Sergey Polyachenko, Maria Yudkevich, Institute for Institutional Studies (HII) of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, published the paper "The effects of prenatal testosterone on wages: Evidence from Russia" in the journal "Economics and Human Biology", 2017, 24, pp.43-60.

The authors of the Higher School of Economics, having carefully studied the observations of 700 men and 900 women’s fingers, a sample of working age respondents from Moscow and the Moscow region, established a close relationship between the ratio of the length of the ringless and index fingers to the income of Russians. The age of the subjects ranged from 25 to 60 years. With the help of special professional equipment (electronic caliper), the ratio of the length of the ring and index fingers was measured. In parallel, it turned out the income of each of the owners of these fingers.

It is well known that the level of prenatal testosterone (male mother hormone) affects the formation of the fetus during pregnancy. This hormone affects the development of the nervous system of the child and parts of his body, including the fingers and the ratio of the lengths of the index and ring fingers. In women, usually, the index finger is longer than the ring finger, in men, on the contrary, the ring finger in a cup is longer than the index finger. As a result of hard work, it is established that the smaller the difference between the index and ring fingers, the higher the level of prenatal testosterone and the lower the income of Russians.

Interestingly, foreign experts from the Netherlands and the USA (University of Wisconsin System) a year earlier tested the hypothesis about the effect of prenatal testosterone on wages using the Dutch twins database. The sample was about 80 thousand observations. It was found that the higher the level of prenatal testosterone, the higher the salaries of men.

Sample sizes and representativeness of the data are not yet comparable, notes Maria Yudkevich. Perhaps the fingers of the Russians are somewhat different from the fingers of foreigners? Or are the economies too different? But these are questions of future prospective studies.

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