Risk Taking, Behavioral Biases, and Genes: Results from 149 Active Investors
19 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2015 Last revised: 7 May 2015
Date Written: April 24, 2015
Recent evidence suggests that there is genetic basis for economic behaviors, including preferences for risk taking. We correlate variation in risk taking and behavioral biases with two genetic polymorphisms related to the uptake of dopamine and serotonin (7R DRD4 and s/s 5-HTTLPR), hypothesizing that they are positively (negatively) related to risk taking. We use a small but detailed sample of active investors where we combine survey data with DNA samples and data from Swedish tax records that give us objective information about actual economic choices. We find a positive (negative) relationship between the dopamine (serotonin) gene and life expectancy bias, but no other significant correlations between the two genes and behaviors, including risk taking and measures of equity holdings. We acknowledge that our tests suffer from low power originating from the small sample size, which warrants some caution when interpreting these results.
Keywords: Risk taking, behavioral biases, dopamine, serotonin, life expectancy
JEL Classification: G02, D12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation