Prenatal Testosterone Exposure (2D:4D) and Economic Preferences

Short Description: Second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) of human hands, a putative marker of prenatal testosterone exposure, has been argued to be one potential explanation for heterogeneity in economic preferences. In a pre-registered study based on a much larger sample than in previous studies, we test if 2D:4D is associated with economic preferences (risk taking, altruism, negative reciprocity, positive reciprocity and trust).

Methodological Details: Hand measurements were done with digital calipers. For economic preferences elicitation, a part of the global preferences module of Falk et al. (2018) was used. These eight items are experimentally validated.


“How do you rate yourself personally? In general, are you someone who is ready to take risks or do you try to avoid risks?”


  1. “Imagine the following situation: Today you unexpectedly received 1,000 Euro. How much of this amount would you donate to a good cause?” [0,1000]

  2. “How willing are you to give to good causes without expecting anything in return?” (scale from 0-10)

Positive Reciprocity: “When someone does me a favor I am willing to return it.” (scale from 0-10)

Negative Reciprocity:

  1. “If I am treated very unjustly, I will take revenge at the first occasion, even if there is a cost to do so.” (scale from 0-10)

  2. “How willing are you to punish someone who treats you unfairly, even if there may be costs for you?” (scale from 0-10)

  3. “How willing are you to punish someone who treats others unfairly, even if there may be costs for you?” (scale from 0-10)

Interpersonal Trust: “People are basically honest.” (scale from 0-10)

Available Papers
  • Neyse, Levent, Magnus Johannesson, and Anna Dreber. 2020. 2D:4D Does Not Predict Economic Preferences : Evidence from a Large, Representative Sample. SOEPpapers 1086 . Berlin: DIW Berlin;

  • Fossen, Frank M., Levent Neyse, Magnus Johannesson, and Anna Dreber. 2020. 2D:4D and Self-Employment Using SOEP Data: A Replication Study. SOEPpapers 1085 . Berlin: DIW Berlin










Levent Neyse (DIW Berlin)




iflerg_lia, iflerg_li, ifl08a, ifl02a1, ifl06, iflerg_re, ifl_r2d4d, ifl05a, ifl06a, ifl02a2, ifl07a, ifl02a5, ifl08, ifl02a4, im_ifl, ifl_mean2d4d, ifl04, ifl_direction_asymm, ifl10, ifl02a3, iflerg_rea, ifl_l2d4d, ifl07, ifl_compos_asymm, ifl05, ifl03, ifl01


Economics, Psychology, Biology

Survey items & somatic measurement