August 24, 2009
Higher Testosterone Pushes Women Toward Riskier Careers

Given enough testosterone women gravitate toward higher risk career choices.

CHICAGO (Aug. 24, 2009) – The battle of the sexes rages on, this time from the trading floor. While there has long been debate about the social and biological differences between men and women, new research by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the University of Chicago's Department of Comparative Human Development explores how the hormone testosterone plays an important role in gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choice.

Prior research has shown that testosterone enhances competitiveness and dominance, reduces fear, and is associated with risky behaviors like gambling and alcohol use. However, until now, the impact of testosterone on gender differences in financial risk-taking has not been explored.

The new paper, "Gender differences in financial risk aversion and career choices are affected by testosterone," has been published in the Aug. 24, 2009 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research was conducted by Paola Sapienza, Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; Luigi Zingales, Robert McCormick Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and Dario Maestripieri, Professor in Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago.

"In general, women are more risk averse than men when it comes to making important financial decisions, which in turn can affect their career choices," said Sapienza. "For example, in our sample set, 36 percent of female MBA students chose high-risk financial careers such as investment banking or trading, compared to 57 percent of male students. We wanted to explore whether these gender differences are related to testosterone, which men have, on average, in higher concentrations than women."

It all comes down to the testosterone baby.

The researchers, using an economic-based measure of risk aversion, found that higher levels of testosterone were associated with a greater appetite for risk in women, but not among men. However, in men and women with similar levels of testosterone, the gender difference in risk aversion disappeared. Additionally, the researchers reported that the link between risk aversion and testosterone predicted career choices after graduation: individuals who were high in testosterone and low in risk aversion chose riskier careers in finance.

You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? If you do, that means you've got a lot of testosterone.

What I want to know: Does testosterone decrease the C-V distance and increase orgasmic potential in women? Click thru and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 August 24 10:36 PM  Brain Sex Differences


Comments
Allan said at August 24, 2009 11:02 PM:

A female friend, a nurse, once told me that she and another female nurse decided to give each other an injection of testosterone ... using the dosage for an older male who needed the treatment.

She told me that they were sex crazy the rest of the day. I won't go into details of her story but in the end she simply told me that she had new respect for men because she couldn't think straight all day! lol

Mthson said at August 25, 2009 2:02 AM:

Do more masculine names among women correlate with higher testosterone levels? Maybe, but even if the answer is no, more masculine names for females seems worth considering.


Great news for Cameron Diaz: Surprising insights from the social sciences

Because President Obama is a lawyer and his mother had a commonly male first name (Stanley), he might appreciate this study out of Clemson. The authors calculated the “masculinity” of every first name in South Carolina as the fraction of registered voters with that name who were male. Then, they compared the average masculinity of female voters’ names to the average masculinity of female judges’ names in the state. While the average masculinity of female voters’ names was 0.026, the value for female judges’ names was 0.084. The authors estimate that changing a girl’s name from “Sue” to “Kelly” increased her odds of becoming a judge by 5 percent, but changing her name to “Cameron” increased her odds by a factor of three."

Boston Globe, 2009

Joe said at August 26, 2009 11:02 AM:

Allan, from what I understand, a given level of testosterone is much more potent on women than men. Testosterone is one treatment for women who have lost their libido. Purely anecdotally, when my wife exercises she is more horny (unfortunately, she doesn't exercise enough for more than this reason.)

SFC MAC said at August 27, 2009 12:50 PM:

From this female's perspective, my job, at times, was pretty risky. I joined the United States Army and stayed for 30 years, which included two wars and a so-called "peace-keeping mission". I miss it.

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