Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Hormonal Contraceptives Do Not Impact Economic Preferences: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

Forthcoming in Management Science

37 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2017 Last revised: 5 Jul 2017

Eva Ranehill

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics

Niklas Zethraeus

Karolinska Institutet - Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics

Liselott Blomberg

Karolinska University Hospital

Bo von Schoultz

Karolinska University Hospital

Angelica Lindén Hirschberg

Karolinska University Hospital

Magnus Johannesson

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 28, 2017

Abstract

A growing body of correlational studies suggests that sex hormones such as those contained in, or affected by, oral contraceptives (OCs) may impact economic behavior. However, despite widespread use of OCs among women in Western countries, little is known about their potential behavioral effects. The present study investigates whether OCs causally influence economic preferences. We randomly allocate 340 women aged 18-35 to three months of a widely used OC or placebo treatment. At the end of treatment, we conduct an economic experiment measuring altruism, financial risk taking, and willingness to compete. The statistical power is 80% to detect an effect size equal to a Cohen’s D of 0.30 at the 5% level. We find no significant effects of OCs on any of the measured preferences, indicating that this widely used OC treatment, commonly used throughout the world, does not significantly affect the measured economic preferences. Further, we find no relation between menstrual cycle phase and economic preferences in the placebo group.

Keywords: Economic behavior, competitiveness, risk-taking, altruism, hormones, oral contraceptives

JEL Classification: C91, J16, D87

Suggested Citation

Ranehill, Eva and Zethraeus, Niklas and Blomberg, Liselott and von Schoultz, Bo and Lindén Hirschberg, Angelica and Johannesson, Magnus and Dreber, Anna, Hormonal Contraceptives Do Not Impact Economic Preferences: Evidence from a Randomized Trial (June 28, 2017). Forthcoming in Management Science. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2993932

Eva Ranehill (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Gothenburg, 41124
Sweden

Niklas Zethraeus

Karolinska Institutet - Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics ( email )

Tomtebodavägen 18A
SE-171 77
Stockholm
Sweden

Liselott Blomberg

Karolinska University Hospital ( email )

Bo Von Schoultz

Karolinska University Hospital ( email )

Stockholm
Sweden

Angelica Lindén Hirschberg

Karolinska University Hospital ( email )

Magnus Johanneson

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 736 9443 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hhs.se/Faculty/showperson.htm?personid=198

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Paper statistics

Downloads
80
Rank
265,416
Abstract Views
1,594