Lefty men make more money

A paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass., found that left-handed college-educated men made 15 percent more than their right-handed counterparts did. Among females, however, there was no difference.

The study (click here for abstract) had intended to prove that a person's handedness is related to their earnings. The initial theory was that left-handers might have more difficulty in lines of work that require operating machinery, which is often built with right-handed people in mind. It also surmised that left-handed men--who some studies have shown dominate the fields of architecture, math, art and music--choose to go into less lucrative careers than right-handers.

One hypothesis for the completely contrary results points to an earlier study, which showed that left-handers had a higher propensity for "divergent thinking." Could this trait be what is putting them over the edge in the workplace? The researchers are just not sure.

"We explore some possible explanations for these findings but are not able to provide concrete evidence leading to a theory that can reconcile all of the various facts we identify," the researchers said in their paper.

The data for the study was based on the information of 5,000 U.S. citizens taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and represented a cross-section of the overall population.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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