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Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testosterone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab

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  • Patricio S. Dalton
  • Sayantan Ghosal

Abstract

This paper examines whether the degree of confidence and overconfidence in one’s ability is determined biologically. In particular, we study whether foetal testosterone exposure correlates with an incentive-compatible measure of confidence within an experimental setting. We find that men (rather than women) who were exposed to high testosterone levels in their mother’s womb are less likely to overestimate their actual performance, which in turn helps them to gain higher monetary rewards. Men exposed to low prenatal testosterone levels, instead, set unrealistically high expectations which results in self-defeating behavior. These results from the lab are able to recon- cile hitherto disconnected evidence from the field, by providing a link between traders’ overconfidence bias, long-term financial returns and prenatal testosterone exposure.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal, 2014. "Self-Confidence, Overconfidence and Prenatal Testosterone Exposure: Evidence from the Lab," Working Papers 2014_02, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2014_02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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    3. Matthew Pearson & Burkhard Schipper, 2012. "The visible hand: finger ratio (2D:4D) and competitive bidding," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(3), pages 510-529, September.
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    5. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    7. Santiago Sanchez-Pages & Enrique Turiegano, 2009. "Testosterone, Facial Symmetry and Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma," ESE Discussion Papers 192, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    8. Buser, Thomas, 2012. "Digit ratios, the menstrual cycle and social preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 457-470.
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    1. Finance & the left
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-01-14 19:22:24

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    Cited by:

    1. Sergio Da Silva & Bruno Moreira & Newton Da Costa Jr, 2015. "Handedness and digit ratio predict overconfidence in cognitive and motor skill tasks in a sample of preschoolers," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 1087-1097.
    2. John V.C. Nye & Maxim V. Bryukhanov & Sergiy S. Polyachenko, 2014. "2D:4D and Life Outcomes: Evidence from the Russian RMLS Survey," HSE Working papers WP BRP 78/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    2D:4D; testosterone; neuroeconomics; expectations; overconfidence; self- confidence; goals.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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