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Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk

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  • Burkhard Schipper

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

We correlate choice under risk in Holt-Laury lottery tasks for gains and losses with salivary testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, and cortisol, the use of hormonal contraceptives, menstrual cycle information as well as the digit ratio (2D:4D) in more than 200 subjects. Risk aversion is negatively correlated with testosterone and positively correlated with cortisol, a stress hormone, for gains only. In males, testosterone is negatively correlated with risk aversion for gains only. In females, cortisol is marginally significantly positively correlated with risk aversion for gains only. No other significant correlations between risk aversion and salivary hormones are observed. In females, testosterone and progesterone are positively correlated with reflection, i.e., risk aversion for gains and risk seeking for losses. Testosterone is negatively correlated with ``consistency'' of preferences in females, while estradiol is negatively correlated with ``consistency'' of preferences in males. No significant correlations between risk aversion and the menstrual cycle or the digit ratio are observed. Females on hormonal contraceptives are more likely to make ``consistent'' choices although this may be due to a selection effect. Risk aversion is positively correlated with being female for losses only. Yet, if we control for salivary hormones we are surprised to find a negative correlation between female and risk aversion for gains.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 127.

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Length: 70
Date of creation: 01 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:12-7

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Keywords: Hormones; Menstrual cycle; Contraception; Digit ratio; 2D:4D; Gender; Risk behavior; Endocrinological economics; Holt-Laury; Risk aversion; Risk seeking; Reflection effect; Prospect theory;

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  1. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
  2. Pearson, Matthew & Schipper, Burkhard C, 2009. "Menstrual cycle and competitive bidding," MPRA Paper 16784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  14. Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "Sex hormones and competitive bidding," Working Papers 144, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  15. Wozniak, David, 2009. "Choices About Competition: Differences by gender and hormonal fluctuations, and the role of relative performance feedback," MPRA Paper 21097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  19. Yan Chen & Peter Katuscak & Emre Ozdenoren, 2005. "Why Can’t a Woman Bid More Like a Man?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp275, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  20. Ellen Garbarino & Robert Slonim & Justin Sydnor, 2011. "Digit ratios (2D:4D) as predictors of risky decision making for both sexes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 1-26, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard Schipper, 2011. "The Visible Hand: Finger Ratio (2D:4D) and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 119, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2011. "Gender and Competition in Adolescence: Task Matter," Research Papers in Economics 2011:14, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 08 Mar 2013.
  3. Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2012. "Do risk and time preferences have biological roots?," MPRA Paper 37320, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard C. Schipper, 2009. "Menstrual Cycle and Competitive Bidding," Working Papers 911, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Burkhard Schipper, 2014. "Sex hormones and competitive bidding," Working Papers 144, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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