Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk Taking

PLoS ONE, Vol. 4, No. 2, February 2009

14 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2008 Last revised: 11 Feb 2009

See all articles by Camelia M. Kuhnen

Camelia M. Kuhnen

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School & NBER

Joan Y. Chiao

Northwestern University

Date Written: February 11, 2009

Abstract

Individuals vary in their willingness to take financial risks. Here we show that variants of two genes that regulate dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission and have been previously linked to emotional behavior, anxiety and addiction (5-HTTLPR and DRD4) are significant determinants of risk taking in investment decisions. We find that the 5-HTTLPR s/s allele carriers take 28% less risk than those carrying the s/l or l/l alleles of the gene. DRD4 7-repeat allele carriers take 25% more risk than individuals without the 7-repeat allele. These findings contribute to the emerging literature on the genetic determinants of economic behavior.

Keywords: genes, risk preferences, financial decisions, neuroeconomics, dopamine, serotonin, emotion, addiction

JEL Classification: C91, D81, G11

Suggested Citation

Kuhnen, Camelia M. and Chiao, Joan Y., Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk Taking (February 11, 2009). PLoS ONE, Vol. 4, No. 2, February 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278236

Camelia M. Kuhnen (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School & NBER ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
(919) 9623284 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://public.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/faculty/kuhnenc/

Joan Y. Chiao

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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