Scientists may argue over exactly what percentage of the world’s population is left-handed, but one thing is clear: lefties are a rarity. While many studies often go on to highlight the benefits of being left-handed, few touch upon the idea that when it comes to lefties, perhaps being special isn’t all that good.

There appears to be a genetic component to being left-handed, but according to Scientific American, researchers haven’t quite pinpointed where this “leftie” gene lies. What they do know is that you’re more likely to be a leftie if you’re a man and if your mother was a leftie. Other than that, things get a bit blurry. There are also believed to be some social influences to left-handedness. For example, societies that have more restrictive views toward this minority have less left-handedness in their populations.

There are also neurological differences between those who show a right-hand preference and southpaws. The Bloomberg View reports that the neural fibers connecting the left and right sides of the brain are larger in lefties, and left-handed brains respond to language differently.

Many people, particularly those in Western societies, associate left-handedness with superior intelligence and enhanced creativity. While this may be true for some, unfortunately, at this time, there is no empirical evidence to support this claim. On the other hand there is evidence that lefties are slightly more likely to develop dyslexia or have a speech impediment, due to the differences in their brain structure.

Joshua Goodman, an economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School has put forward new evidence which suggests that lefties also earn 10 to 12 percent less than righties. The researcher obtained his “leftie information” from five databases, three of which are in the U.S. — the other two are from the UK, Bloomberg View reported. According to Goodman’s analysis, this is because lefties have more emotional and behavioral problems, and more learning disabilities. This then causes them to complete less schooling and subsequently working in occupations that require less cognitive skill.

Perhaps one of the most surprising of Goodman’s findings was that there is a clear difference between lefties born to right-handed mothers and lefties born left-handed mothers. Lefties born from lefties seemed to have similar outcomes to righties, while lefties born to right-handed mothers were more likely to struggle.

The findings from this study, though interesting, only suggest correlation and fail to prove causation. The only difference between the two may very well be how they hold their knife and fork at the dinner table.

Source: Goodman J. The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure, and Human Capital Accumulation. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2014.