Monday, April 14, 2008

Trader balls and what not

Paul Kedrosky: Traders, Balls and Testosterone
Traders, Balls and Testosterone

It's true: Traders with bigger balls do better, at least as evidenced by this study of testosterone levels in London traders:

Little is known about the role of the endocrine system in financial risk taking. Here, we report the findings of a study in which we sampled, under real working conditions, endogenous steroids from a group of male traders in the City of London. We found that a trader's morning testosterone level predicts his day's profitability. We also found that a trader's cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas cortisol is increased by risk. Our results point to a further possibility: testosterone and cortisol are known to have cognitive and behavioral effects, so if the acutely elevated steroids we observed were to persist or increase as volatility rises, they may shift risk preferences and even affect a trader's ability to engage in rational choice.

You mean like they might go nuts and tear up the joint? Fine, but as long it's after quarter end, but before bonuses are paid.