Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk

65 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2012 Last revised: 7 Mar 2014

See all articles by Burkhard C. Schipper

Burkhard C. Schipper

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 6, 2014

Abstract

We study the correlation of choice under risk in Holt-Laury lotteries for gains and losses with gender, the use of hormonal contraceptives, menstrual cycle information, salivary testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, and cortisol as well as the digit ratio (2D:4D) in more than 200 subjects. In males, salivary testosterone is negatively correlated with risk aversion for gains only. In females, salivary cortisol is positively correlated with risk aversion for gains only. No other significant correlations between risk preferences and salivary hormones are observed. No significant correlations between risk preferences and the menstrual cycle are observed in naturally cycling females. No significant correlations between risk preferences and the digit ratio are observed in either gender and/or race. Females who use 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.

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

JEL Classification: C91, C92, D44, D81, D87

Suggested Citation

Schipper, Burkhard C., Sex Hormones and Choice under Risk (March 6, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2046324 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2046324

Burkhard C. Schipper (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-6142 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/schipper/

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